Ford settles lawsuit for rights to Web name


Thursday, August 22nd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



DETROIT (AP) _ Ford Motor Co. and a local entrepreneur have reached a settlement over two Internet domain names _ fordfield.com and fordfield.net.

In 1999 and 2000, Michael Ouellette secured the Internet addresses as well as the corporation name Ford Field Inc. for his small T-shirt and grass seed business in Troy.

Now with the $350 million Detroit Lions stadium set to open Saturday, Ford has paid Ouellette for the Web addresses and corporation name.

Neither side would disclose terms of the deal, which ends a nearly yearlong dispute between Ford and Ouellette.

Ford filed a federal lawsuit against Ouellette last year, accusing him of trademark infringement and cybersquatting _ hoarding of potentially valuable Internet addresses and hoping for a payout.

``It's an acceptable and practical resolution for both parties,'' Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes told The Detroit News for a Thursday story.

While Ford said Ouellette is a clever opportunist who wanted to cash in on the new stadium, Ouellette portrayed himself as a small businessman battling a bullying, giant corporation.

Ouellette said his business' name was inspired by a Clinton Township public baseball diamond named Ford Field, where he used to play. Ouellette points out that his business was established before the name of the new $300 million Lions stadium was revealed in November 1999.

Ouellette said he ``was happy and very satisfied with the settlement. The litigation was getting pretty intense.''