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SOMEBODY'S GOT TO GO; PASADENA-BASED NET COMPANY CLAIMS DISNEY STEALING ITS LOGO.

Byline: Ben Sullivan Daily News Staff Writer

Leggo my logo.

That's what a Pasadena-based Internet search engine firm told Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. in papers filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The company, GoTo.Com, is seeking an injunction against Disney to prevent it from using the current logo for its Go Network site. GoTo.com claims the color scheme and typeface are so similar to its own that consumers are bound to be confused.

Officials at GoTo.com, whose site was launched in June, said they met with Disney representatives several times to no effect before the Mouse launched its Web site in January.

``We tried to dissuade them from using this practically identical logo, and they refused,'' said John Fisher, who sits on GoTo.com's board of directors. ``They proved to be completely intractable and intransigent.''

Disney representatives said the GoTo.com lawsuit is baseless. ``Disney has secured the rights to the Go Network logo and we'll defend those rights vigorously,'' said spokeswoman Rebecca Anderson. Asked whether the two designs appear similar, Anderson said, ``People can make their own judgment when they look at them. That's as much as I'm prepared to say.''

Jeffrey Brewer, president and chief executive of GoTo.com, said there is more at stake than two companies with similar images. Brewer said Disney's portal approach - in which it seeks be a gateway to the Internet, directing users to other sites, including several owned by or associated with Disney - is the opposite of what his company hopes to achieve.

GoTo.com is a fee-based search engine. Businesses pay GoTo.com for a high ranking when users type in key search terms. An online bookseller, for example, might pay 3 cents to appear on a results list each time a user searches using the term ``books.'' But that retailer's information would appear lower on the list than that of a company paying 5 cents.

Under such a business model, GoTo.com owes allegiance to no single advertiser and has no vested interest in which Web sites users choose to visit, Brewer said. ``Everything (Disney and its Go Network) stand for is against what we set out to do,'' he said.

By using a logo similar to GoTo.com's, Disney's site could hurt his company, Brewer said. ``I don't think they have a very good product, and I don't want to be tainted with their product,'' he said.

While Brewer portrayed the case as one of David vs. Goliath, his $30 million firm is itself backed by some of the biggest names in Internet financing.

Beyond Fisher, whose venture capital firm Draper Fisher & Jurevetson invested in the company, GoTo.Com received much of its early money from idealab!

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Photo: (color) GoTo.com is seeking an injunction to prevent Disney from using its Go Network logo, right.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 19, 1999
Words:476
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