The educational software company Jenzabar, whose abusive trademark claims were criticized in my own blog post here as well as by another Public Citizen employee on the Citizen Vox blog last month, is now claiming that such blogging is illegal. According to Jenzabar, a blog post nominating Jenzabar for the “Trademark Abusers Hall of Shame” will “create controversy” and “cause prejudice to Jenzabar,” and any lawyer who engages in such blogging is in violation of Massachusetts court rules.
Jenzabar has sued the Long Bow Group for placing Jenzabar’s name in the keyword meta tags for a web page about Jenzabar, which, Jenzabar claims, has unfairly placed this web page among the top search results when Internet users do a search for “Jenzabar.” This placement, Jenzabar protests, allows university IT personnel who are trying to decide whether to buy Jenzabar’s software and services to learn adverse facts about Jenzabar which might, in turn, lead them to decide not to do business with Jenzabar.
Jenzabar is particularly exercised that my blog post cited a statement by Google back in September announcing that its search rankings have not employed keyword meta tags for many years. This information, Jenzabar insists, is not admissible in court because Matt Cutts’ statements on the subject on the Google’s blog for webmasters, which Google calls “Official News,” is not an “official statement by Google.” It appears to be Jenzabar's position that blog posts about a lawsuit must comply with the rules of evidence.
Interestingly, earlier this year, Long Bow published on its own web site, at the request of Jenzabar's counsel, a lengthy statement about the litigation. During her deposition, Jenzabar founder and former Tiananmen student leader Chai Ling testified it was Jenzabar’s own lawyers who wrote that “extrajudicial statement.” It seems that what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander in Jenzabar’s book.
Jenzabar’s persistent efforts to suppress criticism continue to raise questions of hypocrisy in light of the company's use of its founder's life story, as a symbol of the resistance to tyranny in China, to promote its business.