All Princeton Review President John Katzman wanted was a case of beer. Instead, he got slapped with a lawsuit. The Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Centers and The Princeton Review are in the middle of another messy legal dispute -- this time over The Princeton Review's creation of an Internet newsgroup, called kaplan.com. Katzman said, in a statement, that he would have dropped the newsgroup address for a case of beer. "We registered the name, in part, to irritate Kaplan," Katzman stated. "Clearly, we've done that. "The folks at Kaplan have no imagination, no sense of humor and no beer," he added. "When they come on-line they'll be the second company to use the name kaplan.com, just as they've been the second company to do everything else." Kaplan officials claimed The Princeton Review's use of their name was a trademark infringement. A panel of arbitrators agreed, ordering The Princeton Review to relinquish the name. No money was awarded to Kaplan for legal fees or damages. Douglas Welch, Kaplan's marketing director for the Greater Philadelphia region, did not find Katzman's offer amusing. "[Katzman] is a really flip dude," Welch said. "He likes to make quotes like that. If they would have done that we wouldn't have had to bother with an arbitrator." Welch said he thinks the entire fiasco was due to Kaplan's rising success and popularity over the past two years. "They are using any means that they can to try to stifle it," Welch said. "They are trying to get some publicity." He said The Princeton Review was attempting to capitalize on Kaplan's "55 years of marketing and knowledge." "It's just sleazy," Welch continued. "Kaplan tries to be honest about our programs." Welch said he did not know how much Kaplan spent in legal fees to get the name. He added, however, that this is the first legal decision regarding the use of competitors' names by other businesses over the Internet. The electronic account was a forum for ex-Kaplan students to vent anger about the course. "We've heard a million stories about how bad Kaplan courses are," kaplan.com read. "Now we want to hear yours." The two companies last went to court in March when The Princeton Review sued Kaplan over a series of advertisements. The Princeton Review said Kaplan made claims about score improvements, which went against an agreement the two companies had. Kaplan claims to be the largest test-prep organization, while The Princeton Review says it is the largest SAT preparation service in the country.Comments powered by Disqus
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