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The Oatmeal Lawsuit: Not a Winning Strategy

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By Deanne Katz, Esq. on June 25, 2012 5:56 AM

The list of people who don't like The Oatmeal, a wildly popular webcomic, is fairly small but it definitely includes Charles Carreon who has slapped a lawsuit on the site's creator, Matthew Inman.

Not only is Carreon, the attorney for, suing Inman, he also included the National Wildlife Federation, American Cancer Society, and unnamed Does in his suit. This move is just the latest in the sometimes hilarious battle between the two parties.

Let's take a step back and see how this started.

Back in 2011, Inman discovered the had hundreds of his comics posted on their website.

The comics were unattributed images with Inman's logo for The Oatmeal removed. Inman wrote a post on his website, complaining about his views on their business model.

Some, but not all, of The Oatmeal's comics were removed from FunnyJunk. But almost a year later, hired Carreon who sent a demand letter to Inman. It required Inman to take down "defamatory" statements about AND pay $20,000 in damages.

Inman responded by using to raise the money which would be split between the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Federation with a picture of the funds sent to Carreon. He also hired an attorney (or perhaps got one pro-bono) to respond to Carreon's letter.

Insulted by Inman's treatment of his demand, Carreon is now suing him and above named defendants for, among other things, violating IndieGoGo's terms of service and trademark infringement.


The most amusing and/or astonishing thing about this case is the vast difference in style and arguably talent between Carreon and Focal PLLC, the attorneys representing Inman.

Focal's response to Carreon's demand is clear and readable while also slightly amusing. It's no surprise that two of the three members of this boutique firm started their careers at Perkins Coie LLP.

Carreon's complaint, on the other hand, has "some serious errors" to put it nicely, according to Lowering The Bar.

If you're curious to see how an attorney would actually draft such a complaint or just want to feel good about your own legal analysis, by all means check it out.

[6/29/12 3:24 pm PST Editor's note: This post was updated to attribute to]

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