A spat has broken out between new generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) parties with Wolfgang Puck, who had joined forces with Minds+Machines to promote the .FOOD gTLD, being sued by Minds+Machines, Level Domain Holdings Ltd. and Fred Krueger.
The plaintiffs were working with Puck to develop .FOOD but have now fallen out “over whether Puck and his wife were entitled to compensation for other top-level-domains developed by the parties, and whether Puck subsequently breached the agreement by yanking back rights to his name,” according to Gawker.
The original intention was, according to legal papers, for Minds+Machines and Puck to apply for and develop .FOOD and both parties would promote the gTLD using Puck’s “name, image, likeness, signature, photograph and voice,” according to the legal papers filed in Seattle.
Gawker has published extracts of the court papers on issues involved in the court case including Puck insisting only one per cent of profits go to charity instead of the initial suggestion of five percent; some disagreements, to put it kindly, over other gTLDs such as .FASHION; that Puck’s wife Gelila Puck was telling acquaintances she was “creating the ‘new internet'” and that she was chasing off potential clients by publicly attacking some such as Shaquille O’Neal (claiming he is “not a brand”) and that Minds+Machines “should not proceed with its application for .ZULU.”
Puck’s wife is accused of interjecting “herself into the relationship between Minds+Machines and Wolfgang Puck. Her behavior became forceful, abusive, and erratic, ultimately causing substantial damage to Minds+Machines’ business,” the filed legal document also says.
While legal disputes between applicants for new gTLDs were to be expected, it probably was not expected there would be disputes such as this so early. It also shows the imperative of ensuring that all agreements are carefully documented in case of potential fallouts.