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Website, University Exchange Lawsuits

A trademark dispute between Harvard and notHarvard.com, an online educational website, erupted into a flurry of litigation after notHarvard asked a court in Texas to declare its domain name doesn't infringe on the University's trademark.

In response, on Monday the University sued the Texas-based company for $75,000 in damages, claiming in the lawsuit that notHarvard diluted the famous "Harvard" name.

In a press release, notHarvard asserted that it adopted the domain name in good faith, has taken appropriate measures to secure rights to the name, and attempted to negotiate the dispute with the University prior to taking legal action.

"We believe it is prudent for us to assure that no trademark issues will arise later, as our company and its brand become more established," said Judith Bitterli, notHarvard's CEO, in the press release. "Because it appears Harvard may be evaluating trademark issues, we are taking steps to resolve these matters now, not later."

But the University tells a different story.

Referring to the alleged negotiations between notHarvard and the University, Harvard spokesperson Joe Wrinn said, "It's a bunch of baloney."

"Nobody from the University had been in direct contact with notHarvard until [July 27]," he said.

"Then their lawyer called our lawyer and asked what it would take to settle [the dispute]. They discussed some figures...A little over an hour later, their lawyer calls back and says 'We're suing you,'" Wrinn said.