Traverse Internet Law Disclaimer
The facts are unproven allegations of the Plaintiff and all commentary is based upon the allegations, the truthfulness and accuracy of which are likely in dispute.
J2 GLOBAL COMMUNICATIONS, INC. AND CALL SCIENCES, INC. v. ZILKER VENTURES, LLC AND CHOOSEWHAT.COM, LLC
CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA (LOS ANGELES)
I recently blogged about some of the more prevalent abuses of business trademarks. These allegations layout at least four separate abuses. The first involves the use of the Plaintiff's keyword to trigger ads. The second involves the use of the trademark in the title and description of the ad. The third involves a purported "comparison review" website. The fourth implicates false advertising claims within the comparison website itself. If you are an affiliate marketer, great care needs to be paid to all of these issues. If you are a business, all "comparison shopping" websites need to be looked at very carefully. Many are affiliate marketing sites pushing a competitor’s product or service.
Plaintiff J2 is a leading provider of Internet fax and messaging services and is widely known as "eFax" for which it has a registered trademark. The Defendants are keying Google AdWords ads off of the "eFax" keyword according to the Plaintiff. In addition, the term "eFax" is being used in the title of ads and in the text of the ads presented as sponsored links. Finally, the Defendants’ websites, to which the ads resolve, purport to be "comparison review" websites that give the consumer the false impression that they are unbiased. Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants are in fact paid by competing Internet faxing services as affiliate marketers.
The lawsuit alleges trademark infringement, unfair competition, false advertising, state unfair competition, common law unfair competition, and common law trademark infringement. The Plaintiffs request the issuance of preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, an accounting of all profits, an award of compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and costs of the suit. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1256.
GOFORIT ENTERTAINMENT, LLC v. DIGIMEDIA.COM, L.P., ET AL
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS (DALLAS)
The federal anti-cybersquatting act and the ICANN rules do not apply to "subdomains". Since it is not prohibited by the ICANN rules, since one cannot lose this domain name through a UDRP arbitration process, and since this name is not a violation of the U.S. Anti-Cybersquatting law, my guess is someone assumed that you could legally use a trademark in this way. Don't think that because certain laws don't apply no law will apply to a particular situation. Trademark infringement exposure is very real in this case. For online businesses, don't just be careful with the domain names you own or acquire. Also put into place appropriate controls to prevent a web developer from using a trademark in either a subdomain or a directory extension.
Plaintiff operates a directory located at "www.goforit.com". Defendants own second-level domain names that are the same as the most common first-level domain names. Defendants own "org.com", "com.org", "gov.org", and "org.net". The Plaintiff alleges that the Defendants have added its registered trademark of "goforit" as a subdomain so that it appears as "www.goforit.com.org". According to the Plaintiff this obviously creates tremendous confusion, and also has an adverse search engine optimization impact on the Plaintiff.
The Plaintiff alleges cyberpiracy, federal trademark infringement, false designation of origin, common law trademark infringement, and common law unfair competition. Extensive injunctive relief is requested together with compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees and costs. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1257.
GENERAL NUTRITION CENTERS, INC. AND GENERAL NUTRITION INVESTMENT COMPANY v. THOMAS PARK
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS (HOUSTON)
This case brings to the forefront one of the more interesting developments we have seen in the past 6 months. Many of our clients use "Google alerts" as well as various copyright reporting solutions to automatically search the web for uses of its trademarks and content. So, how does one use the content or trademark without tipping off the owner of the intellectual property? The answer is by using it in foreign languages. This is a hot arena for intellectual property infringement that your business needs to be thinking about.
The Plaintiff is the largest global specialty retailer of nutritional products including vitamin, mineral, herbal, and other specialty supplements and sports nutrition, diet, and energy products. The Defendant is alleged to be using trademarks of the Plaintiff on its Korean language website.
The Plaintiff has sued for trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition, and federal trademark dilution. Extensive preliminary and permanent injunctive relief has been requested, an award of up to one million dollars per counterfeit mark, other compensatory and punitive damages, and its attorneys' fees and court costs. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1258.