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Baker & McKenzie accused of sending "goon squad" to threaten blogger
27 April 2012
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Baker & McKenzie is currently on the receiving end of an internet backlash after allegedly using rather heavy handed tactics against a Canberra blogger and Hasbro NERF gun obsessive.

For anyone who's not eight years old or a "kidult" blogger, NERF guns are plastic weapons which shoot foam darts. In 2010 Martyn Yang, a Canberra public servant by day and toy weapon enthusiast by night, started the fanblog Urban Taggers. He used his popular site to post pictures and reviews of the very latest in NERF gun technology including unreleased models, which is where his trouble started.

In March Yang was emailed by a Hasbro PR offering him a stash of NERF guns to give away as prizes; all Hasbro needed was an address which Yang duly provided. But instead of the toys, it was a Baker & McKenzie letter before action which landed on Yang's doormat. Bakers demanded that Yang take down images he had posted of the unreleased N-Strike Elite "Rampage" Blaster and cough up the contact details of the source who'd supplied information on the gun.

Yang dutifully took down the images but said most of his tip offs were anonymous ("people rarely use real names unless you know someone in real life named spunkypineapplehead666"), before giving Bakers a quick lesson about the internet, where information on the guns was readily available. But three weeks later Yang claims he returned home to find a Bakers' "goon squad" waiting to question him and demanding he show them how to access internet sites that sold the guns, according to a Crikey report.

    A Bakers' lawyer yesterday (an artist's impression)

The blogger has now referred the matter to the Office of the NSW Legal Commissioner and is "seeking redress" from the law firm. Meanwhile the blogging community is calling for a boycott of Hasbro products. Bakers has declined to comment on the investigation into Yang, as has Hasbro which will only say that it "takes all circumstances of its stolen and leaked IP very seriously."
  

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anonymous user
27/04/2012 08:13
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Legally pursuing and scaring fans (even if they are a little too enthusiastic as fans) is among the worst kind of corporate behaviour. Was it Bakers or Hasbro who dreamed up this tactic after watching too many episodes of 24?
anonymous user
27/04/2012 09:38
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This is a reminder that effective IP protection and enforcement these days relies on not only solid technical skills and know-how but also a deep awareness of the social environment in which online content is nested.

The actions taken by Bakers here and the not inconsiderable backlash it has provoked online has destroyed a lot of the goodwill in an already struggling brand in a precarious economy. It's rather amiss of lawyers whose instructions are to protect Hasbro's intangible assets.
anonymous user
27/04/2012 09:44
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:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7HoC_Rnx_U
anonymous user
27/04/2012 15:19
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'a Baker & McKenzie letter before action which landed on Yang's doorman.'

Wow, Yang had his own doorman....(and what a good shot by BMcK).
anonymous user
01/05/2012 13:19
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Reminds me of an old Simpsons episode:

[Sound of knocking on door]
Homer: Who's there?
Goons: Goons. Hired Goons.
[Homer opens door and is promptly accosted by said goons.]
  

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