2005-04-05

NonCommercial Domain Name Trademark Use OK

Ninth Circuit joins 5th & 6th in okaying non-commercial gripe sites.

The Ninth Circuit has held that the use of a business owner's trademark as the domain name of a noncommercial website — the subject of which is consumer commentary about the products and services represented by the mark — does not constitute infringement under the Lanham Act. Bosley Med. Inst. v. Kremer, No. 04-55962 (9th Cir. April 04, 2005) To read the full text of this opinion, go here.

Update: I think Marty makes an excellent point regarding the ACPA portion of the case:

Marty Schwimmer writes:
Determining that the District Court erred by imposing a commercial use requirement, the Circuit Court remanded the ACPA claim and if you read between the lines, it appears to direct Bosley to focus on the 'extortion' angle to see if that proves bad intent...

However, I think the fact that the ACPA count survived is important. It is hard to prove intent, and it is hard to reveal purposeful hostility masquerading as gratuitous hostility. But this case takes one of the hardest ACPA cases to win and suggests a way.
[via Copyfight]

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