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Internet Law Lawsuit Updates
TRI-MARKETING, INC. v. MAINSTREAM MARKETING SERVICES, INC., ET AL. DISTRICT OF MINNESOTA 0:09-CV-00013
This is a classic, and too often repeated, response by an alleged copyright infringer. When caught, we will occasionally see an infringer not only claim that their site has been copied by your business, but actually issue a DMCA takedown notice against a website. This type of action is particularly problematic when one considers that the webhosting company is required to takedown your website for a minimum of 10 days upon the receipt of a DMCA takedown notice. This very powerful weapon can be used with absolute impunity by individuals spread all over the world, located in countries with whom the United States has absolutely no treaties and no goodwill. In other words, it can be used with no risk as a sword to attack competitors. Fortunately for the Plaintiff in this case, the Defendant does not appear to have gone that route. If the allegations are true, this is yet another example of defamatory statements being used to gain a business advantage.
Plaintiff is a Minnesota corporation engaged in the business of telemarketing services, including lead generation for the insurance industry. Extensive comparative information within the body of the lawsuit lays out claims of copyright infringement by the Defendant and an attempt to use its content to compete. Plaintiff notified the Defendant of its infringement of Plaintiff’s copyright and the Vice President of the Defendant began claiming that the Plaintiff had copied the Defendant’s website and not the other way around.
This lawsuit alleges copyright infringement and defamation and requests an award of compensatory damages, injunctive relief against further copying of Plaintiff’s website, an award of attorneys’ fees, and an award of other relief as the court deems proper and just. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1275.
GRANITE GAMING GROUP II, LLC v. BARON LOMBARDO DISTRICT OF NEVADA (LAS VEGAS) 2:08-CV-01701
The lawsuit doesn’t describe what use the Defendant is making of the domain name. Since it appears it was acquired back in the mid 1990s in good faith, the issue will be whether the domain name is being used in bad faith today. Merely holding a domain name passively may, or may not, constitute bad faith use under the Anti- Cybersquatting Act. If you own domain names, and you do not even have the domain name parked, but are merely holding it “passively”, there may still be liability. Keep in mind that damages are up to $100,000.00 per domain name for violation of the Federal Anti-Cybersquatting Act.
The Plaintiff owns the “Girls of Glitter Gulch” gentleman’s club in Las Vegas, Nevada, and holds a state registered trademark in the name. The Defendant is alleged to have acquired the domain name in 1996 on Plaintiff’s, or its predecessor’s, behalf. The Defendant then built a website but the website was taken down in July, 1998. Since that time the Defendant has refused to transfer the domain name to the Plaintiff.
The lawsuit includes counts for cybersquatting, state trademark infringement, common law trademark infringement, and conversion. The relief requested includes the entry of a preliminary and permanent injunction, and a monetary award of compensatory, consequential, statutory, exemplary, and punitive damages, an award of interest, costs and attorneys’ fees, and other relief. Internet Law Cross- Reference Number 1260.
WILCOX ASSOCIATES, INCORPORATED, ET AL v. XSPECT SOLUTIONS, INC. EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN (DETROIT) 2:08-CV-14695
Domain owners may think that the only risk is losing the domain name in a UDRP ICANN arbitration proceeding. In fact, a lawsuit can be filed against the owner of a domain name seeking significant monetary damages without resorting to a UDRP arbitration, or even after arbitration has been decided. When faced with an alleged “cybersquatting” claim more and more clients are finding that merely transferring the domain name does not solve the problem. A full and final release of all claims should be the objective.
The Plaintiffs are an affiliated group of companies in the business of providing, developing, manufacturing, and selling dimensional metrology products, a type of measuring machine. The Defendant is in the same business. The Plaintiffs filed an ICANN domain name dispute and obtained the transfer of 42 domain names that were registered by XSpect that allegedly infringed on the Plaintiff’s trademarks. Xspect is alleged to have continued to maintain ownership of other domain names, and this lawsuit was brought by the Plaintiffs for damages.
The lawsuit alleges trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false advertising, cybersquatting, and common law trademark infringement. The lawsuit requests damages and entry by the court of preliminary and permanent injunctive relief against the further use of these domain names, the Plaintiffs’ related trademarks, and any domain names that are identical or confusingly similar to its trademarks. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1246.
HOME SHOW TOURS INC. v. QUAD CITY VIRTUAL INC. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF IOWA (DAVENPORT) 3:08-CV-00127
Once again we have litigation between competitors relating to the publication of allegedly defamatory statements and a trademark infringement claim under the federal Lanham Act. It is hard to know whether the use by the Defendant of the Plaintiff’s name was in a direct commercial context such that a trademark infringement claim would be appropriate, but a good rule of thumb is that commercial competitors’ claims relating to defamation do generally bring trademark infringement issues into play.
The Plaintiff was incorporated in January of 2004 and since that time has engaged in the business of selling advertising on the Internet to homeowners and other persons and entities offering real estate for sale by owner. The Defendant is a direct competitor of the Plaintiff. The Defendant is alleged to have published defamatory statements and information about the Plaintiff on its website that is false, literally true or ambiguous but which implicitly conveys a false impression.
The lawsuit alleges a trademark infringement claim under the federal Lanham Act, libel per se in that such statements would reasonably be understood to be an expression that attacks the integrity of the Plaintiff, libel per quod in that the statements and information were published with actual knowledge that they were false or with a reckless disregard for their truth, and “false light”. Relief requested includes compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and a permanent injunction that prohibits the publication of future false or defamatory statements, or the assertion of claims that may be true or ambiguous but which implicitly convey a false impression or are misleading in context. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1229.
Z57, INC. v. iHOUSEWEB, INC. NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (SAN FRANCISCO) FILED: 9/08/2008
This case is very much about the evolving issues of the use of a competitor’s name online. We are now seeing many cases filed each month dealing with the purchase by a competitor of a “search term” on the web. One of the next major areas of litigation will be the less obvious, surreptitious use of competitor’s names once search engine optimization and online business practices are more fully understood by businesses, lawyers, and judges. There are many, many ways to use a trademark of a competing business that does not involve metatags, domain names or advertisement triggers, many of which will ultimately be seen as a clear case of “trademark infringement”.
Z57 is a website that provides marketing information relating to the Real Estate industry. Defendant is alleged to be using the “Z57″ keyword to trigger Google AdWords advertisements when the “Z57″ term is searched. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant has been “scraping” and extracting content from Z57′s website in order to secure customer sales leads for its own commercial gain.
Plaintiff claims federal trademark infringement, false advertising, common law unfair competition, and violations of the California Unfair and Fraudulent Business Practices Act. Z57 requests a permanent injunction prohibiting the Defendant from using the mark “Z57″ alone or in combination with other words, compensatory damages, disgorgement of Defendant’s profits, treble damages, punitive damages, interest, costs, expenses and reasonable attorneys’ fees, and other relief. To the extent there has been “unauthorized access” through the scraping allegation, there is neither a state unauthorized access claim nor a federal violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse act alleged. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1217.
NEXTPOINT, INC. v. NEXTPOINT NETWORKS, INC. NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS (CHICAGO) 1:08-CV-04593
The Plaintiff admits that the Defendant’s website contains “various descriptions of its business that are vague and confusing, particularly when compared to the goods and services offered by Plaintiff”. My instincts tell me that there may not be a high likelihood of confusion and the Plaintiff’s protection does not extend beyond the category of goods and services for which it is registered or operates, which appears to be mediation support and consulting services. Whenever you are launching a new website, using a new domain name, or selecting a new name for a product or service, always make sure that you get clearance so that you understand what issues might arise in your use of the name or mark.
Plaintiff alleges that is has been providing litigation support and consulting services to a nationwide client base since January of 2006. The Defendant Corporation was formed in January of 2008 and started using the same name and a nearly identical mark/logo. The Plaintiff alleges that Defendant is using its trademark protected name, “Nextpoint”, as the first metatag for Defendant’s website, which results in Google returning results that are for the Defendant’s website rather than the Plaintiff’s website.
The Plaintiff has alleged unfair competition, trademark dilution, cybersquatting, state anti- dilution, state deceptive trade practices, state deceptive business practices, common law unfair competition and common law trademark infringement. Preliminary and permanent injunctive relief is requested and the Plaintiff has set forth in great detail the exact relief it is requesting in two pages of its lawsuit. Plaintiff is also requesting an award of monetary damages including Defendant’s profits, triple compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, attorney’s fees, costs and disbursements and whatever else the court deems proper. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1207.
ANDY’S MUSIC, INC. v. ANDY’S MUSIC, INC. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA (MOBILE) 1:08-CV-00463
This is a perfect example of the problems with conducting business on the web today. A small music store in Illinois decides to launch a website. It runs head-on into a small music store with an online presence in Alabama. “Andy’s Music” is not the most unique or distinctive name in the world. The case does bring home, again, the importance of “trademark clearance” and the potential ramifications if your name conflicts with another business name in the U.S. This action could have been brought on a common law trademark claim without even a federal or state registered mark, so a cursory check at the USPTO does not suffice. But this case really makes you wonder how many trademark infringement claims we’ll be seeing in the future. Once you take your biz to the web, the whole game changes.
Plaintiff registered the name “Andy’s Music” on October 2, 2007 and “Andy’s Music Online” for use in connection with musical instruments on February 26, 2008. The Plaintiff claims it has continually used the “Andy’s Music” mark since 1977, and the “Andy’s Music Online” since 2000. The Defendant is being sued because it is using “Andy’s Music”.
The lawsuit alleges federal trademark infringement and federal unfair competition. The Plaintiff asks for injunctive relief against the use of the name and related trademarks. The Plaintiff is also requesting an accounting and an award of all profits, damages, an award of prospective damages for corrective advertising, its court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses, and interest on all sums awarded. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1208.
VOLKSWAGEN, AG, ET AL. v. VOLKSWAGENTALK.COM EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA (ALEXANDRIA) 1:08-CV-00819
What do you do when you have someone outside the U.S. cybersquatting? One answer is to file a lawsuit against the domain name either in the registrar’s or registry’s jurisdiction. The Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, is a common jurisdiction for “in rem” actions like this. The odd thing is the order to transfer the domain name to an organization other than the plaintiff.
Volkswagen alleges in this lawsuit that the case involves “quintessential domain name cyberpiracy”. The domain name “www.volkswagentalk.com” is registered by an unknown person living in Russia who is not subject to suit in U.S. federal courts and who is hosting a commercial website at that address allegedly designed to appear as if it is operated by Volkswagen itself. The website advertises counterfeit and infringing goods, as well as Volkswagen’s direct and indirect competitors, according to the allegations in the lawsuit.
The claim for relief includes one count of “cyberpiracy”, which is really a violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, which is part of the U.S. trademark law. The plaintiff requests that VeriSign, the dot com registry, be ordered to change the registrar of the Defendant domain name ultimately to the Plaintiff. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1209.
USA HERBALS, LLC, ET AL. v. SYBERVISION, INC. ET AL. SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK (FOLEY SQUARE) 1:08-CV-07571
“Review” sites run by affiliate marketers or competing products fall into the category of “comparative advertising”. Free speech does not protect much of the content of these sites since the motivation is commercial and economic in nature. Consequently, the false advertising laws and related causes of action flowing from the falsity of claims often provides a much stronger basis for dealing with the problem. This area is primed for a lot of legal action. Don’t allow affiliate marketers or your in-house marketing staff do run these types of sites reviewing a product or service in which the owner of the site has an economic interest.
The Plaintiff develops and markets a variety of herbal, natural health and wellness products. Defendants are alleged to have launched websites that are touted by the Defendants as informative and unbiased “product reviews”. Plaintiff alleges that the “reviews” are fake, are intended to disparage its products and cause consumers to buy products being sold by the Defendants, which almost always receive very high ratings. There are also allegations of bidding on trademark key terms owned by the Plaintiff.
The lawsuit counts include copyright infringement, false advertising, trademark infringement and false designation, injurious falsehood, false and deceptive trade practices, state false advertising, defamation, tortuous interference with prospective business, common law unfair competition, common law trademark infringement, and civil conspiracy. The Plaintiff requests the entry of injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages and attorney’s fees and costs. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1210.
JOHN CAFIERO v. DOUG CUSTER a/k/a DOUG EVIL WESTERN DSITRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA (JOHNSTOWN) 3:08-CV-00202
The Digital Millennium Copy Act requires that a website pull down infringing content upon the receipt of a “DMCA notification”. While it is a bit ambiguous, the law requires the content to be down for ten days, during which a “counter- notification” can be filed. The counter-notification is an affidavit, signed under oath and under penalties of perjury. And, since the DMCA notice should have taken care of the content for ten days, a counter-notification could be viewed simply as an invitation to file another DMCA takedown notice if you are on solid footing. Little known fact: There is no limitation as to how many DMCA takedown notices you can serve on a web host.
Beginning in 2005 the Defendant launched an unprovoked attack on Mr. Cafiero’s personal and professional credibility by posting on the Internet numerous false, harassing and defamatory statements about Mr. Cafiero. The Plaintiff is a successful artist, musician, producer, director and businessman in the entertainment industry. Mr. Cafiero has directed films and videos that have ranked at the top of the Billboard charts and received gold and platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Mr. Cafiero presently manages the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band “The Ramones”. Defendant allegedly stole an animated video owned by Mr. Cafiero and placed it on YouTube.com. The Defendant then laid claim to ownership of the video. When the Plaintiff served a DMCA takedown notice on YouTube the Defendant filed a counter-notification claiming that the Plaintiff had committed perjury and was not the owner of the video. Defendant then is alleged to have launched a blog attacking various business interests of the Plaintiff through the publication of false and defamatory accusations relating to theft, misappropriation, stealing and lying.
The Plaintiff sued the Defendant for copyright infringement, violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act/perjury, defamation, and false light. The Plaintiff is requesting the entry of permanent injunction from “defaming or otherwise disparaging Plaintiff John Cafiero”, damages sustained, statutory damages, triple damages, and costs and attorney’s fees. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1211.
OLD TIME POTTERY, INC. v. RICHARD K. BEDSOLE, ET AL. MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE (NASHVILLE) 3:08-CV-00760
The allegations in this case set forth a well organized pattern of mischief making. Indeed, the mischief goes far beyond creating problems for a couple of the stores in this retail chain. In fact, if these allegations are true the Defendants appear to be operating anonymously but, once again, it becomes readily apparent that the web is not as anonymous as many think it is.
The Plaintiff, Old Time Pottery, Inc., sued the Defendants and alleged that they published a “going out of business” announcement on “Craigslist”. Plaintiff continues to allege that the Defendants published numerous other similar or identical postings about the Plaintiff’s various stores including a post on Wikipedia questioning its financial legitimacy.
The Plaintiff has sued for trademark infringement, common law unfair competition, state consumer protection act violations, intentional interference with business relationships, defamation, and telephone consumer protection act violations. The prayer for relief includes a request for the entry of a preliminary and permanent injunction against the Defendants which will probably result in “prior restraint” constitutional challenges, awards of monetary damages tripled by state statute, as well as other statutory damages, award of attorney’s fee, punitive damages, costs and further relief. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1212.
MARIO LAVANDEIRA v. INFUSE, LLC ET AL. CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (LOS ANGELES) 2:08-cv-04764
It is very difficult to figure out what this case is really about by reviewing the lawsuit. The domain name sounds as if it is being used purportedly for purposes of criticizing the Plaintiff, although that is not mentioned in the lawsuit. There are allegations that the Defendants copied the Plaintiff’s website creatives, but there is no claim for copyright infringement. My feeling is that something else is going on here beyond a trademark and domain name dispute. Keep in mind that the driving force of a lawsuit is sometimes not apparent and it takes some “reading between the lines” to really figure out what the dispute between the parties is really about. And sometimes, even reading between those lines can’t provide the proper perspective on the dispute.
The Plaintiff is an Internet celebrity gossip “blogger” writing under the pseudonym “Perez Hilton”. The Defendants are alleged to have launched a competing commercial website using the domain name “www.perezrevenge.com”. The Plaintiff also alleges that the “Perez” common law trademark is also being used by the Defendants in the website metatags. In addition, allegations include the use by the Defendants of “prominent artwork and trade dress that is identical to, and a direct copy of, the artwork” of the Plaintiff.
The Plaintiff has sued for unfair competition, false designation of origin, federal dilution, cybersquatting, and unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. The Plaintiff has requested the court to enter a temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunction against the acts of the Defendants and requested an entry of judgment for monetary damages against each of the Defendants. Internet Law Corss-Reference Number 1201.
IDEARC MEDIA CORP. v. SUPERPAGES.TRAVEL SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA (FT. LAUDERDALE) 0:08-cv-61055
This is the first in a long line of cases that will be following the expansion of top level domain name options. The fact that a lawsuit can be brought against a domain name itself is helpful to understand as a final option, and revealing of the challenges and difficulties of chasing cybersquatters using surreptitious business names and addresses.
This is an “in rem” lawsuit against the domain name “superpages.travel”. The Plaintiff, the owner of the “superpages” trademark, has sued for possession of the domain name under the cybersquatting laws that allow for a lawsuit to be brought against a domain name when the owner is out of the country.
The Plaintiff has requested that the registry of the .travel top level domain name be required to transfer the domain name to the Plaintiff. The actual owner of the domain name is unknown since there is no legitimate business registered and/or operating under the name listed as the owner nor is there such a business located in Australia at the address given. Internet Law Corss-Reference Number 1202.
NEON NETWORK, LLC v. ASPIS LIV FORSAKRINGS DISTRICT OF ARIZONA (PHOENIX) 2:08-cv-01188
This is a classic example of the conflicts that are arising in the global economy. The World Intellectual Property Organization, headquartered in Switzerland, managed this arbitration, which was between the US owner of a domain name and a company located in Sweden. Should the laws of the United States relating to free speech be applied by lawyers and courts and arbitrators all around the world? This type of issue is part of the complexity involved in domain name and international trademark issues.
Neon Networks, LLC lost a UDRP proceeding and the domain name “www.aspis.com” was ordered transferred to the Defendant. Plaintiff has filed this suit to overturn the arbitration award, arguing that the use of the domain name of a company organized under the laws of Sweden was for “genuine commentary” which suggests a “free speech” and “fair use” defense.
Plaintiff has sued for a declaratory judgment that Plaintiff’s use of the subject domain name is in compliance with law and a further declaratory judgment asking the court to invalidate and declare unenforceable the trademark of this Swedish company in the United States and further find that there is no trademark infringement. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1192.
IBERIA PARISH FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT #1 v. TAD THIES WESTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA 6:08-cv-00825
There is no reason for an employee or a contractor to secure a domain name on your business’ behalf and put it in his own name. If this happens, understand that the owner of record, which is the individual, often believes he has ownership in the domain name even though it was purchased while either employed or pursuant to a contract which created a “trust” for the domain name to be held on your business’ behalf. There is a general misunderstanding that the name on a domain name registration account is the actual owner.
Plaintiff allowed an employee of the fire department to obtain and register the domain name used by the fire department to host a website that is used for firefighter training, record keeping, and emergency warning activities, as well as the fire department’s complete electronic mail system. The individual Defendant allegedly had a disagreement with the fire department and changed the DNS server so that the URL was no longer pointing to the website of the Iberia Parish Fire Protection Department. Apparently the website was also hosted on servers owned and/or controlled by Defendant Thies, and the website has been rendered inoperable.
Iberia Parish Fire Protection District #1 sued the individual Defendant, an employee of the fire department, for violation of the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, breach of duty of loyalty and fiduciary responsibility, conversion, and unfair trade practices and has requested that the court enter an extensive declaratory judgment to protect the fire department and transfer the domain name. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1193.
CPFILMS, INC. v. SHATTERGARD SECURITY & SAFETY WINDOW FILMS, INC. EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI (ST. LOUIS) 4:08-CV-00189
Plaintiff has led the window film industry for the past twenty years and is the world’s largest manufacturer of window film and precision coated films. Plaintiff’s mark LLUMAR was registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 1978 and is now well-known by the public as identifying the Plaintiff and its products. Defendant manufactures and sells window film products in direct competition with Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant registered the domain name www.llumarwindowfilms.com and is pointing traffic from that domain name to its website at www.shattergard.com.
Plaintiff has filed suit in federal court in Missouri, claiming cybersquatting, trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and dilution of a famous mark in violation of federal and state law. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant’s actions constitute unjust enrichment at the expense of the Plaintiff. Plaintiff has requested that the court permanently enjoin the Defendant from using the LLUMAR mark or any similar mark in any confusing way, including as part of a domain name or in any promotional material, and order Defendant to engage in advertising that will correct any consumer confusion that has resulted from Defendant’s actions. Plaintiff has also requested the transfer of the domain name www.llumarwindowfilms.com, statutory damages, Defendant’s profits, attorneys’ fees and costs. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1025.
SANSEGAL SPORTSWEAR, INC. v. GEORGE B. LIPSON, ET AL. DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION 2:08-CV-00102
Plaintiff Sansegal Sportswear, Inc., a Utah corporation, is a leader in the clothing industry that sells primarily to corporate retail clients. Plaintiff owns the federally registered trademark “GREEN BRAND” in connection with clothing, namely sweat shirts, tee shirts, tank tops, and shorts. This mark was registered in 1997. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant, George B. Lipson, is using the mark “GREEN LABEL” in connection with clothing at the Defendant’s website, www.greenlabel.com. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant has been using this mark since 2005 and filed a U.S. Trademark Application for that mark in October 2007.
Plaintiff has filed suit against Defendant, a resident of Virginia, in federal court in Utah. The suit alleges that Defendant has committed trademark infringement under both federal and common law by using a mark that is likely to cause substantial confusion among the consuming public. The Plaintiff also alleges that the Defendant has engaged in unfair competition, as defined by both federal and state law. Plaintiff seeks an order enjoining Defendant from infringing on Plaintiff’s marks, as well as awarding Plaintiff actual and punitive damages, along with attorneys’ fees and costs. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1026.
FREIGHTQUOTE.COM, INC. v. PACIFIC ATLANTIC FREIGHT NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS 1:08-CV-00823
Plaintiff Freightquote.com, Inc., a Delaware corporation, provides freight shipping and management services through its website. Defendant Pacific Atlantic Freight, a California business, provides similar services through its website, www.freightshippingcenter.com, which can also be reached through a link from the web address www- freight-quotes.com. Plaintiff has the federally registered trademarks, “freightquote” and “freightquote.com,” and have used these marks in interstate commerce since 1999. Defendant began using www-freight-quotes.com with full knowledge of Plaintiff’s marks.
Plaintiff has filed suit in federal court in Illinois, claiming trademark infringement under federal and common law, as well as unfair competition under federal and state law. The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendant willfully infringed on Plaintiff’s trademark and committed unfair business practices by using the confusingly similar mark with the intent to deceive the public. The Plaintiff is seeking an order enjoining the Defendant from infringing on Plaintiff’s trademarks and creating confusion though this use, requiring the Defendant to prepare and deliver public corrective statements to customers concerning the alleged misrepresentations, and awarding damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1027.
BMW OF NORTH AMERICA LLC ET AL V. EUROTECH WHEELS, LLC ET AL SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (SAN DIEGO) 3:08-CV-00171
Plaintiffs manufacture motor vehicles, parts and other products for sale throughout the world. Plaintiffs sell their products under various trademarks, including the “Roundel” logo, the M Stripes logo and the name “BMW,” that are well-known and recognized throughout the world. Plaintiffs allege that Defendants have registered the domain name “eurotechbmw.com” and operate a website at that location to sell wheel rims. Allegedly, Defendants do not merely advertise that these wheel rims fit certain BMW vehicles. Instead, the Defendants purport to sell actual BMW wheels.
Plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit against Defendants in California alleging federal trademark infringement, federal unfair competition and false designation of origin in violation of the Lanham Act. Plaintiffs also allege violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act for registering a domain name that incorporates its marks and Design Patent Infringement of five of its patents for selling wheel rims similar to the Plaintiffs’ rims. Plaintiffs’ other causes of actions include common law trademark infringement, common law unfair competition and unfair competition in violation of California state laws. Plaintiffs seek a permanent injunction that prohibits Defendants from using Plaintiffs’ trademarks and patents and damages for its willful patent and trademark infringement and cybersquatting. Plaintiffs also seek control of or the cancellation of the domain name “eurotechbmw.com.” Internet Law Cross- Reference Number 1005
CRYSTAL ENTERTAINMENT & FILMWORKS, INC. ET AL V. JURADO ET AL SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA (FT. LAUDERDALE) 0:08-CV-60125
Plaintiff is a music and film entertainment business that has rights to the mark “Expose’.” Under license from Plaintiff’s predecessor, the Defendants, a singing and performance trio, used “Expose’” as the name of its group. When Defendants launched a new Expose’ tour in 2006, it registered a group of domain names including “exposeonline.net” and “myspace.com/exposeonline.” In 2007 Defendants cancelled its license agreement with Plaintiff, but continues to use the Expose’ name.
Plaintiff filed a federal lawsuit against Defendants in Florida alleging federal trademark infringement, false designation of origin, false association, false advertise and unfair competition. Plaintiff also alleges violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, Breach of Contract and Constructive Trust. Plaintiff seeks to prevent Defendants from using the Expose’ mark on a website, as part of a domain name or in connection with a live performance. Plaintiff also wants the transfer of the offending domain names and an award of damages for its breach of contract and trademark infringement claim. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1006
WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. ET AL V. ASHWORTH DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION 2:08-CV-00083
Plaintiff owns the copyright and/or exclusive production and distribution rights to many popular films and television programs. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant is the operator of the website “MovieAdvanced.org” which solicits Internet users interested in downloading films and television programs and, pursuant to an “affiliate agreement,” delivers those customers to a similarly named website “MovieAdvanced.com” where tools allowing customers to download and burn films were sold. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant was paid a referral fee for all of the customers that were directed to MovieAdvanced.com from its website.
Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant, a Utah resident, in federal court in Utah. Plaintiff previously sued parties involved with MovieAdvanced.com including Defendant in federal court in New York which resulted in a settlement wherein MovieAdvance.com was shut down and disgorged of $300,000 in profits to Plaintiff. However, Defendant alleged that the New York court did not have jurisdiction over Defendant. Therefore, Plaintiff filed suit against Defendant in Utah alleging that Plaintiff violated the federal Copyright Act as a contributory infringer and federal trademark law by using Plaintiff’s marks in its advertisements and engaged in civil conspiracy in violation of Utah common law through its affiliate with MovieAdvanced.com which encouraged and provided customers with the tools to commit film piracy. Plaintiff’s suit seeks to disgorge Plaintiff of its profits, damages, costs and attorneys fees. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1007.
LIFESTYLE LIFT HOLDING, INC ET AL V. NEW DREAM NETWORK, LLC ET AL EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN, SOUTHERN DIVISION 2:08-CV-10392
Plaintiff Lifestyle Lift Holding, Inc. is the owner of the federally registered trademark “Lifestyle Lift” which is used to identify cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures. Plaintiff licenses the use of its “Lifestyle Lift” mark to cosmetic and plastic surgery centers throughout the United States who specialize in minimally invasive facelift procedures. Plaintiff alleges that its mark has gained recognition through its extensive positive television coverage which has resulted in strong consumer recognition. Plaintiff LL MA East, P.C. is a medical facility in Waltham, Massachusetts licensed to use “Lifestyle Lift.” Defendant Dr. Fechner provides plastic surgery procedures in the Boston area. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants utilizes websites including www.drfrechner.com and www.bostonfacelift.com that include the phrase “Lifestyle Lift” on the websites to identify facial plastic surgery services provided by Defendants.
Plaintiff filed suit in federal court in Michigan alleging that Defendants’ websites violate Plaintiff’s trademark in violation of the federal Lanham Trademark Act. Plaintiff’s suit alleges that Defendants websites use “Lifestyle Lift” in the title, description and keywords causing search engines to detect and direct customers to Defendants’ websites. Plaintiff’s suit claims that Defendants’ improper use of its trademark causes patients, potential patients and the public to be mislead and seeks damages and to prevent Defendants from using its mark “Lifestyle Lift” or any imitation thereof. Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1008.
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