July 23, 2008
After a nearly 8 year series of legal battles, MetroGuide's founder, Mark Metz, has complete control of a domain that came under dispute in 2000. The domain, travelquotes.com, was the subject of both federal and state court cases.
"At the outset of the litigation, it was appalling to me how ill-prepared the legal system was to handle intellectual property disputes in the Internet age," recalled Metz. Concepts that are well-understood now, such as affiliate programs, cost-per-click and measuring site traffic, were met "with complete cluelessness by the numerous judges who heard the cases over the years."
The TravelQuotes® site, which is a registered trademark of Metz Commerce Corporation, is currently undergoing a redesign. Although the cost of litigation was high, the negative experiences in the courtroom have had a side benefit. Metz, who has extensive experience in operating sites to rate and review restaurants, has been inspired to begin the coding and design of a new public site for judges to be rated and reviewed.
"I felt the incompetence and apathy of a half dozen judges nearly lead to a piece of my property being taken from me," said Metz. "Having registered my first domain in 1995, I have always appreciated the value of domains as intellectual property and would bear any burden to protect these assets. But no one should have to go through what I went through."
Metz vows to use the experience to help others. "Judges need to be held accountable, and shining the spotlight on them is the best way to empower those seeking justice. Hopefully, my upcoming guide to judges will begin to finally tip the scales against the kind of judicial impropriety that I witnessed. Let the judges be judged."
Incorporated in Florida in 1996, MetroGuide.com, Inc., operates both the "MetroGuide.Network" of city sites and the "MetroGuide.Community" social network. The city sites and the social network support each other towards the goal of creating the "Ultimate City Guide," a place where people can go to find everything they need to know about their local communities, and get answers to every question they might have regarding those communities. First appearing on touch-screen kiosks in 1993 and on the web in 1995, MetroGuide enjoys the status of being one of the world's first digital city guides.