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Site reopens despite Toys 'R' Us flap

Toy collector Gus Lopez reopens his Toysrgus Web site despite a threatening letter from Toys "R" Us, is back in business.

Gus Lopez, the Star Wars toy collector who shut his enthusiast Web site after receiving a threatening letter from Toys "R" Us, is back in business.

Lopez, who closed his Toysrgus site after receiving a "cease and desist" letter last week, relaunched the site yesterday because his home page is not a business.

"After careful consideration of the legal claims made by Toys 'R' Us through their attorneys at Darby & Darby, we come to the conclusion that it would be inappropriate and unreasonable to comply with their terms," reads a message on Lopez's site. "Darby & Darby's legal challenge is written under the mistaken impression that this is a commercial site."

Toys "R" Us contends that Lopez's site, which for nearly five years housed his Star Wars Collector's archive with information about action figures, infringes on its trademark.

"Your use of Toysrgus.com is an infringement of our client's rights under federal and state laws," lawyers for Toys "R" Us wrote, citing the Federal Trademark Dilution Act. "In particular, customers are likely to believe that your business is owned, licensed, sponsored, or in some way connected to our client's business."

Toys "R" Us, which owns several "'R' Us" trademarks, also owns domain names such as Kidsrus.com, Boysrus.com, and Dollsrus.com. The letter called for Lopez to shut down the site and delete the domain name from the InterNIC registry.

Lopez closed the Star Wars archive Thursday and appeared willing to cooperate with the retail toy store.

"We may be back at some point [perhaps under a new domain] if this legal matter is resolved," read a message Lopez posted on the site last week. "My hope is that this domain name dispute will be resolved swiftly, but it's hard to predict. It has been a wonderful past few years, and I wish everyone the best of luck in their collecting endeavors."

But Lopez apparently had a change of heart over the weekend after considering his options and receiving many messages from supporters.

Domain dispute, not the first
Earlier this month, Archie Comics and the Sams family battled over the use of Veronica.org, a site named after David Sams's 2-year-old daughter. Archie has since dropped the suit. Similarly, Net portal Yahoo called for an end to Yahooka.com, a parody site that provided a search directory on marijuana.

Attorney's for Toys "R" Us said Lopez misinterpreted their letter.

"We never asked him to close down his Web site. We just asked him to change his domain name," said Paul Fields, a partner at Darby & Darby. "We have no objection to the site per se. Our objection is to the confusing similarity of the name of the site."

Fields said Lopez could change his domain name for a nominal fee to comply with the toy retailer's request.

Toys "R" Us, with almost 1,500 stores worldwide, had third-quarter revenue of nearly $2.2 billion.

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