Facing Lawsuit, notHarvard.com Changes Name

University will not drop charges against website

NotHarvard.com, an online education site, changed its name yesterday to Powered.com, several months after Harvard sued the company for trademark infringement.

NotHarvard sued the University on July 27 seeking an injunction to protect its domain name. The University responded by suing notHarvard several days later.

But University officials said that despite the fact that notHarvard no longer exists, Harvard will press on with its lawsuit against the company instead of waiting for Powered to turn over the domain name voluntarily.

"We are seeking a solution that's legally enforceable, instead of relying on an individual's promise," said University spokesperson Joe Wrinn.

Paul Danziger, a lawyer for Powered, said that the company would be willing to turn the notHarvard domain name over to the University on December 7. The delay is necessary, he says, to allow a suitable transition period for Powered.

Powered officials said that the company had been planning to change the name since early May.

"The name notHarvard no longer fit our business really well," said Mark Gonzalez, acting vice president of marketing for the company. "It was originally a code name that we used that stuck."

Gonzalez dismissed the entire controversy as "an amazing case of bad timing." If the dispute had surfaced two weeks later, he said, notHarvard would have changed its name already.

Lucia Lim, a public relations officer for Powered, said the litigation did not prompt the company to change its name.

Wrinn said he doubted that explanation.

"It brings a new definition to the term 'virtual reality,'" Wrinn said. "The idea that it was some sort of test name is comical."

When asked if he thought the decision to rename the company was related to the ongoing legal battles, Wrinn said, "I don't know how it couldn't be."

Powered officials said they were eager to end the litigation and get back to business.

"We did file a brief here in Texas about our lawsuit, saying that the case is now moot and both cases should be dropped," Gonzalez said.

But abruptness of the company's name change was evident yesterday. One secretary at Powered's Texas headquarters answered the phone with a crisp "notHarvard." She quickly corrected herself.

Danziger said that Powered was no longer using the notHarvard domain name. The notHarvard.com site now features a video sequence that says "NotHarvard has become "Powered," before transferring the viewer to powered.com.

University Counsel Diane Lopez said Harvard has dropped its original demand for $75,000 in damages in an attempt to receive a speedier resolution.

The trial is set to begin October 10 in Boston.