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Law firm of Sony Ericsson – ignorance, rudeness, rigidity

Very often large companies have reasons to delegate some of their functions to other companies. Sometimes it is easier than to staff specialists in each country. It’s normal practice but it is necessary to keep in mind some limitations. Employees who work as outsourcing employees don’t feel the corporative spirit of the company, its loyalty and understanding of the situation. Usually the main staff entrusted the job to them and control it. We came across one lawer agency which was acting on behalf of Sony Ericsson (till now it is a mystery, which division), work style and behavior of its representative demanded too much comments and for that reason we decided to devote a special article to it.

Being in Cannes at 3GSM Congress I occasionally checked my private e-mail (this address is not published on site and usually mails there are not connected with mobile-review). That is why I was very surprised when saw the following mail there:

Sony Ericsson ./. Mobile Review Video
Dear Sirs,
We are acting on behalf of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB. On your
web site "www.mobile-review.com" you are showing pictures which are
extracted from a Sony Ericsson video regarding product information.
We hereby notify and inform you that the video as such and the information
contained in the video do constitute business secrets of Sony Ericsson. We
additionally inform you that the video has only been published by violating
secrecy and non-disclosure agreements. This means that any further
disclosure of such video is illegal and represents unfair competition. In
addition to that the video is under copyright protection and Sony Ericsson
does not wanted it to be further spread.
For these reasons we have to ask you to immediately, but in any case not
later than

today, February 27, 2004, 1.00 p.m.

refrain from showing the video and any corresponding information and / or
photos extracted from the video on your web site. We have to ask you to take
all information that is related with the video off your web site and to
furthermore inform us from which source you received the corresponding

Please note that should you not follow the aforementioned requests this very
much would influence Sony Ericsson's attitude towards your web site and Sony
Ericsson would not hesitate to enforce all their respective legal rights.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Schunke

Copy of this mail was sent to Maria Sennikova and also to her private e-mail. We’ll turn to it later.

Let’s look on this letter from my position as a chief editor of Mobile-Review.com. Somebody, who even didn’t sign the e-mail (mind that we didn’t correspond with the sender earlier) made high demands. It was made against business ethics. It means that I had to guess who was the sender and which company he really acted on behalf. The signature - Dr. Shunke said me nothing because we had been not introduced before. The sender’s address registered in de zone was not corresponded with the corporative address of Sony Ericsson. The mail didn’t consist any electronic signatures.

The fact that the e-mail was sent to my private mailbox allows ignoring it. The statement like that «We are acting on behalf of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB» is allowed to top management of the company but not to outsourcing company if of course, follow the business ethics. I think that your reaction would’ve be the same if you heard from somebody on the street that he was Napoleon.

The ultimatum contained in the e-mail, where the time for removing materials was indicated, intensified the situation. It’s interesting that the e-mail was sent 3 minutes before the deadline. Our site is very operative but not so, unfortunately.

When I wrote my reply I decided to find out who was that man, why he made such kind of statements and which articles on our site he would like to remove. I couldn’t guess myself because as you know we have many articles devoted to Sony Ericsson and products of this company.

Two hours later I received the following e-mail:

Dear Mr. Eldar,

Please find enclosed the hyperlink. May I now ask you to please remove the

Yours sincerely

Dr. Schunke


My questions were the following:

  1. A request to introduce yourself. Which company you are working for and which position do you have there?
  2. Why did you decide to use my private e-mail and where did you find it?
  3. Please, point us the direct link to the articles, which you wished to be removed.

In the end I asked Dr. Schunke to use official e-mail address for correspondence.

The answer was very short (see above) and again no introduction! Could you imagine that the person asked you serious things but was not going to introduce himself. The only difference was the word “Lawyer” in the end. The sender decided that it would enough for us.

My answer was simple. The forum is open for everybody, it is a place where people exchange their opinion regarding mobile phones. We can’t delete messages if they not contain abuses or false information which affected image of the company. If we do this we’ll infringe the user’s rights to express his/her own opinion.

I asked again to answer my questions. I stressed representatives of Sony Ericsson never heard about him, this e-mail and were very surprised by such style of work. I also said that we didn’t like to receive ultimatums.

Only after this e-mail I could receive an answer on my questions, which I asked in the beginning. Here is the copy of the e-mail.

Dear Mr. Eldar,

Sony Ericsson has found out that you are still showing the pictures on your
website mobile review.com. The hyperlinks are


and the newly found


I hereby give you the last chance to remove the photos from your website.

With respect to your questions we are working as an external law firm for
Sony Ericsson. Therefore it is not necessary that I am a Vice President
because we have the mandate to represent Sony Ericsson. As the photos do
violate copyright laws and other rights from Sony Ericsson as I pointed out
before and you have been informed about those violations you are obliged to
remove the photos.

Should you not be cooperative now then Sony Ericsson will claim damages
against you and enforce all other rights.

Yours sincerely

Dr. Maximilian Schunke
Law firm
Gцhmann Wrede Haas Kappus & Hartmann

All my explanations about forum were ignored. Apparently it is normal for this company and this lawyer to ignore all things that are connected with his demands. I answered that such kinds of e-mails couldn’t be used as documents. I asked to send us (to our office) a paper with all claims by post. It is the only probable way to communicate officially. It is known all over the world and every law firm should know it. The answer was received from Sony Ericsson. Vice-president of the company confirmed that Dr. Maximilian Schunke really represented interests of Sony Ericsson. It’s interesting that this e-mail was caused by inability of Dr. Maximilian Schunke to do his own business properly. I always thought that lawyers are those people who should know and keep all rules and first of all business ethics. It was not so in our case.

I sent the answer with my explanations to Vice-president of Sony Ericsson because Dr. Maximilian Schunke ignored all our offers. I described the problems mentioned above. I explained that they cast doubts on the company’s reputation (anonymous e-mails, categorical demands without a signature and so on). I stressed that I was very interested by this topic and going to publish an article. Several days after that I didn’t receive any answers. I even though that it was the end of our correspondence and the company understood that they needed to change their attitude to business. But two days ago I received one more e-mail from Dr. Maximilian Schunke.

Eldar Murtazin
Editor in chief

Hanover, 08.03.2004
Az.: 00301/04Po o/ma
Secretary: Mrs. Matern
Direct phone no:

Dear Mr. Eldar,

I come back to the previous Emails that have been exchanged. It is obvious
that you have not understood the legal consequences of your ongoing
unwillingness to co-operate with my client Sony Ericsson in the
aforementioned matter. In contrast to all other online newspapers / fan
sites etc. which had published the photos, you are the only forum that
knowingly and wilfully continues to infringe Sony Ericsson's rights. Whereas
others have removed the pictures immediately and have informed us about
their source of origin you continue with your attitude that you expressed
during the last days. The consequence is that most links which are still on
the web and refer to the photos do refer to your web site. You thereby cause
substantial damage to Sony Ericsson. Since you have been informed about the
infringing photos you are obliged to co-operate with Sony Ericsson. As you
have chosen to not behave accordingly you have to be considered as jointly
responsible for the copyright violation that the photos do represent and in
this case you even infringe wilfully and knowingly. In previous Emails we
have not asked you for any remedies with respect to the past before we have
informed you, we have merely asked you to remove the infringing pictures.
However from now on, as you are aware of the infringements, Sony Ericsson is
also entitled to claim damages, which we hereby expressly reserve on behalf
of our client.

I therefore hereby ask you for a last time to remove the pictures from the
hyperlink that I have referred to before at the latest by

today, March 8, 2004, 4.00 p.m. Central European Time.

Should you not comply with this request then we will take all further
necessary steps.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Schunke

Cc: Sony Ericsson

Law firm
Gцhmann Wrede Haas Kappus & Hartmann
Landschaftstr. 6
D-30159 Hannover

Pay attention that that e-mail was executed according to all rules. My explanations were not lost and one more law firm learned how to write official e-mails!!! But once again the e-mail consisted an ultimatum. However lawyers should be accurate, they should know about national holidays if they work all over the world. March, the 8-th is a national holiday in Russia. When I received the e-mail (March, the 9-th) I was sure that lawyers of this law company can’t do their job properly. I really regret that this company represents Sony Ericsson.

P.S. We will communicate with Sony Ericsson and its representatives with pleasure, moreover we explained the simplest way to solve such kinds of problems. We will do our bests to render our assistance if it is not against human’s rights and freedom of speech. Our previous experience showed that we could find common language with the company, several times we removed exclusive articles by Sony Ericsson’s request.

Eldar Murtazin (eldar@mobile-review.com)

Published — 9 March 2004

Have something to add?! Write us... eldar@mobile-review.com



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