Twin Cities cycling legend Greg LeMond has won a federal restraining order against a father and son accused of gobbling up dozens of internet domain names that play off LeMond’s name and his carbon-fiber technology business.
LeMond, who lives in Medina, has sued longtime marketer Frederick H. Stinchfield and Frederick H. Stinchfield III in federal court in Minneapolis for upward of $6.6 million.
He is alleging that the two are “cybersquatters,” having taken control of 66 web addresses using the three-time Tour de France champion’s trademarked name and business, called Grail. Examples include lemondgrail.com and grailcarbon.us.
U.S. District Judge John Tunheim’s temporary restraining order bars the Stinchfields, who live in Orono, from registering any additional domain names tied to the 56-year-old LeMond or his business, or transferring or selling the ones they control.
When asked for a reaction to the allegations, the elder Stinchfield said Monday afternoon, “I do not believe any of our family intends to make a formal comment on the matter at this time.”
In August 2016, LeMond announced a business venture involving the development and sale of low-cost carbon fiber. He’s marketing the product under the Grail trademark and through his LeMond Cos. and LeMond Composites, according to his application for the restraining order.
Within two months of the announcement, the disputed domain names were registered by the father and his son, who never had any commercial connection to the retired cyclist’s name or the name of his business, LeMond is alleging.
Further, according to the lawsuit, the Stinchfields run a website titled “LeMond Industries,” which features the athlete’s likeness, name and “derogatory information” about his name and business. The website also has advertising that presumably generates revenue for the father and son, and also an offer to sell the “cybersquatted” domain names in violation of the federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, the suit continues.
The suit alleges that the Stinchfields also own domain names associated with other prominent figures, such as former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner and his former wife, Huma Abedin, pop singer Rihanna and Minnesota business tycoon Wheelock Whitney.
Public records list various businesses headed by the elder Stinchfield, most built around the word “promotion.” A biographical statement on the website promotioninsights.com describes the 66-year-old Stinchfield as a promotion industry veteran of several decades who began his career at the Carlson Marketing Group in the mid-1970s and then moved onto Archway Marketing, which had been Gage Marketing. He is routinely quoted as a marketing expert by several news media outlets, including the Star Tribune.
His bio lists such past clients as Pepsi, Unilever, Olympus and R.J. Reynolds. While it’s uncertain how recently the bio was last updated, it lists UnitedHealthcare and PayPal among his “current clients.”
LeMond and his wife, Kathy, came to live in the Twin Cities full-time in the early 1990s upon his retirement from international racing. She grew up in La Crosse, Wis.
Before the now-disgraced Lance Armstrong captivated the cycling world with his Tour de France triumphs, LeMond was the face of the sport. His Tour de France victories in 1986, 1989 and 1990 won him a visit to the White House and an appearance on “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson. Also, Sports Illustrated named him Sportsman of the Year in 1989.