John Pagani appears to have been astounded by this piece of advice by lawyers from a prominent IP firm. He has now claimed he has been "pwned" and that the article that so astonished him was a gag.
Or maybe Pagani's being ironic. Heck, I don't know. I'm pretty sure the legal article was serious, though.
Some people are aware that I am an IP lawyer. I should make it clear at this point that I do not work for the IP firm concerned.
Moreover, lawyers are usually reluctant to attack each other in public out of a sense of professional courtesy, and as a member of the unholy cabal that is the legal profession I am no different.
All I will really say about the legal advice given in the article is that, while it is technically correct, the use of blunt legal processes by businesses to deal with protesters is extremely dangerous. You might win the court case, but you may also lose the PR battle.
If you want a complaint or protest about your brand or business to go viral overnight, sometimes the best thing to do is try to shut it down using the courts or a cease and desist letter.
Often in these situations the best thing a business can do is rein in the lawyers.
But I don't agree with Pagani that lawyers should stop giving PR advice. A good lawyer can be a valuable asset to a business and can provide insightful advice on a range of commercial issues. Lawyers are often involved in contentious matters and can often predict how a particular action will be received by the public and media. Admittedly some lawyers know all the legal angles without being able to provide commercially sensible advice, but I would hope that they are a minority.