A federal judge has ordered a Twin Cities marketing expert to shut down any online use of cycling legend Greg LeMond’s name and likeness.
The preliminary order Monday from District Judge John Tunheim pointed to LeMond’s “likelihood of success” in halting — through a $6.6 million lawsuit — Frederick Stinchfield and his son, Frederick Stinchfield III, from exploiting LeMond’s worldwide fame for their financial gain.
Tunheim’s order also revealed that the 66-year-old Stinchfield and his 32-year-old son, both of Orono, “have admitted that they have no interest in maintaining ownership of the domain names and that they are willing to transfer whatever ownership interest they have … to LeMond.”
The judge’s preliminary injunction supersedes a temporary restraining order issued in June, which merely barred the Stinchfields from registering any additional domain names tied to the 56-year-old LeMond or his business, or transferring or selling the ones they control.
LeMond, of Medina, sued the Stinchfields and branded them as “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.
Lawrence M. Shapiro, LeMond’s attorney, said Monday that his client “is pleased with the court’s order” and otherwise declined to comment about the fate of the lawsuit.
“There is no change in this litigation,” Frederick Stinchfield said Monday by e-mail. “The judge is merely keeping the status quo until trial since we said we had no interest in any of Lemond’s marks or names. This remains bogus and defamatory litigation as to me.”
The elder Stinchfield has contended that someone not known to him must have hoarded the web addresses in dispute. At the same time, the father said in a court filing, he wanted LeMond to “acknowledge publicly [that the] proceeding against me was erroneous and inappropriate.”
In August 2016, LeMond announced a business 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 son, who never had any commercial connection to the retired cyclist’s name or the name of his business, LeMond alleges.
Public records list various businesses headed by the elder Stinchfield. He has been routinely quoted as a marketing expert by 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 updated, it lists UnitedHealthcare and PayPal among his “current clients.”
LeMond and his wife, Kathy, moved to the Twin Cities full-time in the early 1990s after his retirement from international racing. She grew up in La Crosse, Wis.