Springdale Man Files Counterclaim Against Arkansas Business

A Springdale man who has been sued for infringing on the trademarks of Arkansas Business Publishing Group has filed a counterclaim seeking $30 million in punitive damages.

The counterclaim, dated May 22, was filed by Jim Bolt and three companies he incorporated in late April — Arkansas Business Publishing Group Inc., Arkansas Business Journal Inc. and Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Inc.

The counterclaim alleges that Arkansas Business LP, which operates Arkansas Business Publishing Group, filed a "malicious and unfounded" civil complaint against Bolt and his companies "for the ulterior purpose of concealing or furthering the concealment of a series of unlawful business practices it has engaged in since early 1996 or earlier."

Bolt also alleges malicious abuse of process and deceptive and unconscionable trade practices in his claim for punitive damages.

Two other defendants in the trademark infringement suit, attorney John Dodge and Juan Gomez, who is listed as the registered agent for Bolt's newly incorporated companies, did not join in the counterclaim.

In answer to the trademark infringement suit, the defendants denied that ABLP holds any trademark rights to the names "Arkansas Business Publishing Group," "Arkansas Business" or the "Northwest Arkansas Business Journal."

The defendants had also made motions to dismiss the case, change its venue from U.S. District Court in Little Rock and change jurisdiction. But in a conference call hearing on May 15, U.S. District Court Judge G. Thomas Eisele denied all three motions.

Arkansas Business LP contends that Bolt, Dodge and Gomez incorporated the three companies using trademarked names in retaliation for a series of articles published in Arkansas Business and the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. The articles questioned the operations of Golf Entertainment Inc. of Springdale (also known as Sienna Broadcasting Corp.), a penny stock company of which both Bolt and Dodge are executives.

Mel Robinson, a trustee of an entity called Genesis Trust, which is Golf Entertainment's largest shareholder, has filed a $12 million libel suit against Arkansas Business Publishing Group, two of its publications and three of its employees. That suit has been set for trial on Oct. 27 in Washington County Circuit Court.

The trademark infringement suit filed by Arkansas Business LP is set for trial on Oct. 6 in U.S. District Court in Little Rock.