Unfortunately for him, the speed of law was more Californian than Oregonian in Massachusetts, so it took another two months for the case to come before a judge. This wasn't the only challenge Cohen faced. The undisputed king of online porn, Ron Levi, saw his chance and got involved. Levi had been watching Cohen's progress in the adult industry, and when Cohen stopped his rampage against other "sex" domains thanks to Web-Depot lawsuit, Levi jumped in.
Levi owned "wwwsex.com". So those that typed in the "www" web address but didn't hit the full stop, would be taken to http://www.wwwsex.com. It sounds stupid, but it was incredibly effective. More importantly than that though, the name tackled a fundamental element of trademark law.
An intriguing aspect of trademark - often abused by companies to explain unethical behaviour - is that a company has to defend any misuse of its mark if it is to keep it. So if Cohen didn't react to someone using a domain that included the term "sex.com", he couldn't then go and attack someone else later for having a dotcom with the word "sex" in it. Levi knew this and so launched a site at wwwsex.com while Cohen was waiting for the Web-Depot case to come to court.
But Cohen - who had been carefully avoiding the notoriously tough Levi - had noticed the sudden appearance of the site, realised what it meant, and so sued. Ron Levi received the same five legal papers, but this time with the domain "wwwsex.com" filling in the blanks. Levi had his Californian attorney immediately apply for permission to represent him in an Oregon court, and the two found themselves in a stand-off.
Both decided that the fight was for another day, however, and a month later Cohen withdrew his complaint and Levi took down his site. It was a wary truce, and one that finally broke down when Cohen found out that Levi had started funding Gary Kremen's legal battle against him.
Cohen then fought for another three months with Web-Depot and Michael Davon in Massachusetts, gradually losing ground.
Eight months in and just days before the trial date, Cohen settled and hoped that no one on the West Coast would notice.
Cohen then continued as if nothing had happened, sending out another long list of demands to "sex" domain owners threatening them with legal action unless they capitulated. This time, however, Cohen found a more defiant adult industry that refused to simply cave in when they received a letter from DuBoff Dorband Cushing & King. On 29 July 1999 his legal team filed no fewer than five trademark infringement lawsuits and kicked the whole process off again.
By 2001, Cohen owned, among many, many other domains: lovemysex.com, wwwsex.net, wesex.com, 4sexy.com, ezhotsex.com, sexq.com, sexonline.com, hardsexonline.com, sexxlist.com, sexxxlist.com, trysex.com and truesex.com.
It is difficult to underestimate how happy Cohen was during this period - possibly for the first time since his childhood. He had spent his whole adult life pulling scams and then rapidly avoiding the fallout. No matter how much Cohen had congratulated himself on his prowess at not being caught, there had always been people after him. And despite all his feelings of superiority, it was quite clear society had thought little of him.