Legal History

The Ongoing Legal Dispute over More Than Two


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Image: Elena Mozhvilo

IMPORTANT:
Were you contacted by a woman named Louisa Leontiades, calling herself a journalist and saying she wanted information about me? My attorney would very much like to speak to you. If this happened to you, please contact me directly. Thank you so much!

Welcome! This page is a legal timeline of the current dispute over the domain name morethantwo.com, the More Than Two trademark, and the lawsuit with my former partner.

If you're reading this, you're probably aware that my former partner and former co-author has engaged in numerous legal maneuvers that threaten the continuation of this site since I left my romantic relationship with her in 2018, including:

  1. An attempt to modify a legal settlement by adding a provision which would have the More Than Two domain name turned over to her.
  2. An attempt to register a trademark on the phrase "More Than Two," which I have been using since 2006, over six years before we met.
  3. A lawsuit she has filed against me.

I will keep updating this page as the legal dispute unfolds.

I cannot express how much I appreciate the enormous outpouring of support as I seek to defend the work I've done on this site over the past sixteen years. Not just your contributions, but all your messages of support and encouragement, have been humbling as I deal with this situation. Thank you all so very much.

Current Timeline of Events

November 30, 2021: The most recent of several mediation attempts, this one in front of Judge Karsten Rasmussen. At the conclusion, we agreed to a set of points (covered by confidentiality) that would have finalized our remaining connections.

January 2022: Eve’s trademark attorney, Caroline Fox, files for registered trademarks for the phrase “More Than Two.”

January 17, 2022: Ms. Rickert’s attorney Chris Hayes suggests minor changes to the final mediation agreement.

January 19, 2022: Chris Hayes sends my attorney a revised settlement that includes new provisions for turning over control of the domain name morethantwo.com to Ms. Rickert.

January 21, 2022: My attorney communicates to Mr. Hayes that I will not surrender the domain name morethantwo.com, and that doing so was not part of the mediated agreement.

January 24, 2022: My attorney communicates to Ms. Fox that I began using the phrase “More Than Two” in 2006, advising her that we will dispute any attempt to register the trademark, and asking her to withdraw the trademark application.

February 1, 2002: Ms. Fox advises my attorney she will not withdraw the trademark registration.

February 3, 2022: Ms. Fox informs my lawyer she believes that Ms. Rickert has a rightful claim to the trademark "More Than Two" because:

a preexisting outline or manuscript would have no effect on common law trademark rights, which vest only through commercial use. That is not the case for your client, as Thorntree was the first to commercially exploit the book as part of its series.

February 7, 2002: I advise my attorney to begin opposition proceedings to Ms. Rickert’s attempt to register the trademark “More Than Two.”

February 9, 2002: I begin assembling the documentation to show that I was using the name “More Than Two” long before I ever met Ms. Rickert. This documentation includes:

February 15, 2022: A new attorney, Ted Roe, informs my attorney that he has replaced Mr. Hayes in representing Ms. Rickert.

February 24, 2022: In a communication with my attorney, Ms. Fox acknowledges that the More Than Two trademark belongs to me and I first used it years before I met Ms. Rickert, but maintains that the trademark should belong to Ms. Rickert anyway because Ms. Rickert commercialized use of the mark.

March 2, 2022: My attorney informs me that I will need to provide a litigation retainer fee to contest Ms. Rickert’s application for the trademark.

March 14, 2022: Ms. Fox sends my attorney a demand that I remove quotes from the book More Than Two from the morethantwo.com site.

March 18, 2022: Ms. Rickert files a lawsuit against me in Multnomah County Court asking that the November settlement be voided. My attorney informs me that I will need to provide a litigation retainer fee to defend myself in the lawsuit.

March 21, 2022: Mr. Roe sends my attorney a demand that I close my crowdfunding and remove pages from the More Than Two site talking about the litigation.

March 27, 2022: I am able to pay my lawyer the litigation retainer to contest the trademark applications and defend me in the lawsuit, thanks to the kindness and generosity of people who support my crowdfunding.

April 11, 2022: Ms. Fox repeats her demand that I remove quotes from the book More Than Two from this Web site. In those demands, she says:

It may also be helpful to review the roots of the commerce clause. Especially after your client's use of the work on a website that (i) makes money from ads, (ii) promotes & links to products for purchase, and (iii) raises money not related to a 501(c)(3), I think it's quite clear that the use is commercial in nature.

April 13, 2022: My ex's attorney Ted Roe attempts to serve papers for the lawsuit. His service fails to comply with the requirements of the State of Oregon. My lawyer informs him of the defect in service.

April 14, 2022: Ted Roe threatens to "cite your actions which cause unnecessary expense when we apply to the court for an award of attorney fees" because my attorney has asked him to comply with Oregon requirements for service.

April 21, 2022: Ted Roe communicates a demand to remove quotes from the book More Than Two from this website or risk legal action. Mr. Roe also demands I remove remarks about the mediation from this website or face additional legal action.

April 25, 2022: During a lengthy phone conversation with my lawyer, he informs me that Ms. Rickert's attorney still has not properly served us. Ms. Rickert's attorney continues to maintain that the excerpts from the book on this Web site is a violation of copyright. Additionally, Ms. Rickert's attorney has notified my attorney that he is going on vacation.

My lawyer has prepared a filing to contest Ms. Rickert's attempt to register the trademark on the phrase "More Than Two." This will be filed once the trademark comes up for opposition.

May 11, 2022 Ms. Rickert's attorney has returned from vacation, and has asked my attorney to waive my right to service. I have declined to waive my rights.

As of today, I still have not formally been served. My attorney is still awaiting service, and has already prepared our response when that happens.

May 13, 2022: I still have yet to be served.

May 18, 2022: I've had another conversation with my lawyer today. Strangely, Ms. Rickert still hasn't served me, raising the possibility that the lawsuit is more about trying to bully or harass than to settle legitimate grievances.

May 24, 2022: Ms. Rickert's attorney Ted Roe has contacted my attorney with a very angry letter claiming that Ms. Rickert has not made a copyright claim, and labeling my talking about him on this site "unacceptable." In the interests of transparency, I will continue to update this page with relevant communications from Ms. Rickert and her representatives.

As of today, I still have not been served.

May 25, 2022: My attorney has informed me I've finally been served. We have already prepared a response to the lawsuit, which is ready to be filed.

May 27, 2022: I have now been served, and my attorney is preparing a response to the notice as we move into the discovery phase of the lawsuit.

May 31, 2022: Many people contacted me some years ago, before the accusations about me were published, to tell me a woman named Louisa Leontiades had contacted them on social media or through email claiming to be a journalist and looking for information about me. Ms. Leontiades is a client of Ms. Rickert's, though she didn't disclose that fact. If you were contacted at any point by Ms. Leontiades seeking information about me, regardless of whether or not you responded, my attorney would very much like to speak with you. You can see examples of the kind of communication I'm talking about here. Please email me directly here.

June 8, 2022: My lawyer has filed our response to Ms. Rickert's lawsuit with the court.

June 17, 2020: In anticipation of the discovery phase of the lawsuit, my lawyer has filed requests for information with Ms. Rickert and with Thorntree Press, the publishing company we co-founded and she now owns.

June 27, 2020: Ms. Rickert's attempt to claim the trademark for "More Than Two" still has not been assigned to a trademark examiner or published for commentary. My attorney and I have already begun preparing a challenge to the filing, which we will submit when the trademark application is published for comments. Unfortunately, that may not be for months.