ExxonMobil Loses Bid To Silence Internet Critics

July 6, 2010

ExxonMobil, marketed as Esso in Europe, has lost its bid to stop the use of a parody logo on the Greenpeace France "StopEsso" website.

Offended by this representation of their “Esso” company logo,
ExxonMobil took Greenpeace to court.

Paris, France, February 26, 2003 – ExxonMobil, marketed as Esso
in Europe, has lost its bid to stop the use of a parody logo on the
Greenpeace France “StopEsso” website. The decision by a French
court today to lift an injunction against the use of the logo is an
important victory for free speech on the internet and clear
evidence that ExxonMobil’s strategy to silence critics using the
courts has failed.

In July 2002, Esso France began legal action against Greenpeace
in France over the “StopEsso” website, which uses a logo featuring
a double dollar sign ($$) in place of the double “S” in the oil
giant’s red and blue logo. StopEsso, a global coalition of groups
including Greenpeace, is campaigning around the world to stop
ExxonMobil from sabotaging international action to address global
warming and has used the logo around the world since the campaign
was launched in May 2001.

“ExxonMobil is sabotaging government action on global warming
and in order to continue its dirty business has attempted to use
the courts to silence its critics. Today that strategy failed” said
Greenpeace Climate Campaign Coordinator, Gary Cook.

ExxonMobil had earlier claimed that a double dollar sign logo
associated the company with the Nazi SS but this was rejected by
the court at a preliminary hearing. But in July of last year, a
French judge upheld ExxonMobil’s bid to get the logo taken off the
Greenpeace France website. Greenpeace relocated the site to
ExxonMobil’s home state of Texas during this appeal, to provide
support for French Activists without violating the court’s order.
Today, after hearing Greenpeace’s appeal, the French Court found
that StopEsso’s use of the logo was allowable under the right to
free speech.

“It is ExxonMobil’s own behavior interfering in international
action on global warming that is damaging its reputation, rather
than anything we are doing,” said Cook. “Trampling over the right
to freedom of expression in an attempt to shut us down has only
attracted further condemnation.”

ExxonMobil was ordered to pay
Greenpeace France $2160 for procedure costs and the French Stop Esso
website over which ExxonMobil sought to sue has now been
reactivated in France.

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