Q1 2009 Quick Links, Part 2

By Eric Goldman

Trademarks/Domain Names

* The ridiculous Jones Day v. BlockShopper case settled. The settlement agreement. The ABA Journal and Legal Blog Watch stories. Commentary from CMLP, Paul Levy, Tom O’Toole.

* The trial court denouement of the S&L Vitamins v. Australian Gold did not turn well for the defense–$6M jury award. The S&L Vitamins v. Australian Gold and Designer Skins v. S&L Vitamins cases subsequently settled. According to Ronald Coleman: “This settles, for our clients S&L Vitamins, Inc., the Australian Gold case and the related appeal in the Designer Skin case. All money judgments are vacated and parties bear their own fees. Our client agrees to move on to another line of work, however.”

* Twelve Inches Around Corp. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., 2009 WL 928077 (S.D.N.Y. March 12, 2009). 17 USC 512(f) does not cover trademark takedown notices.

* Suarez Corp. v. Earthwise, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 92931 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 14, 2008). Including a competitor’s name in a web page disclaimer creates initial interest confusion when the competitor’s name is indexed by the search engines. Compare Promatek v. Equitrac, the 2002 7th Circuit case ordering the defendant to include the plaintiff’s name on its web page as a cure for initial interest confusion.

* CRS Recovery v. Laxton, 2008 WL 4408001 (N.D. Cal. Sept. 26, 2008). Another California-based court says that domain names are property that can be converted. I’m amazed that these cases are still being brought.

* North American Bushman, Inc. v. Saari, 2009 WL 211932 (M.D. Pa. Jan. 27, 2009) The parties entered into a settlement agreement that “Plaintiffs further agree not to use, and in addition, to offer up or destroy, any material that includes, but is not limited to, the names, photos, images, embroideries, of likeness of [Defendant] James Saari and any of the a above named trade names and trademarks of Defendants.” The court holds that this provision wasn’t breached when third party users posted comments referencing the defendants in UGC areas of websites operated by the other party.

* Advice Co. v. Novak, 2009 WL 210503 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 23, 2009). Justia page. Stupid lawsuit alert! Attorneypages.com believes Attorneyyellowpages.com infringes its trademark. Case dismissed for lack of personal jurisdiction. Participating in Google AdSense doesn’t automatically create jurisdiction in CA.

* DSW v. Zappos, which involved allegations of trademark infringement based on Zappo’s affiliates, settled.

* An update on Google’s AdWords woes in France.

* Kiva Kitchen & Bath Inc. v. Capital Distributing Inc., 2009 WL 890591 (5th Cir. April 2, 2009). The Fifth Circuit upholds enhanced damages under ACPA. Good discussion of the purpose of damages in the ACPA.

* Toys R Us buys the domain toys.com for over $5M. Is any domain name worth $5M any more?

* A 2007 interview with “Pokey” of Pokey.org fame. This is one of my favorite domain name disputes from the 1990s. A very smart cyberlawyer (Ian Ballon), on behalf of the trademark owners of Pokey & Gumby, unexpectedly got into a public tangle with a 12 year old kid nicknamed “Pokey” over the domain name pokey.org. Debating 12 year old kids in the press never turns out well.


* Some new material on behavioral advertising: an FTC report and a CRS report.

* Latest NYT article on human billboards. See my prior blog post.

* Privacy advocates are freaking out about Google Android and its ability to deliver location-based information and ads. But location-based information and ad targeting is inevitable…and a good thing.

* Action over mobile marketing: Mobile Messenger settled a false advertising suit with Florida for $1M, and another settlement. Google’s response.

* The class in the “Vista Capable” lawsuit was decertified.

* Tsan’s post on the latest FTC efforts to rein in testimonials on social networking sites and blogs. Unfortunately for the FTC, some of its efforts may be preempted by 47 USC 230.

* eBay v. Digital Point Solutions, 2009 WL 481269 (N.D. Cal. Feb. 24, 2009). eBay loses an intermediate round in its cookie stuffing lawsuit against Digital Point Solutions.

* e360, a serial defendant in spam cases, sued Choicepoint for selling it email addresses that led to the suits. Apparently neither e360 nor Choicepoint got the memo that the days of email list brokering are dead.

* 10 Creative Bathroom Ads.

Search Engines

* Study: Google’s search lead not matched by loyalty. A critical response.

* Is Google giving big brands extra credit in its organic search results rankings? Compare: media giants complaining they don’t get enough weighting in organic results.

* Sign of improving consumer search skills: search queries are getting longer.

* Yahoo reserves the right to “auto-optimize” advertiser accounts by changing ads and advertiser bids automatically. This is not a popular move.

* Wired: The Plot to Kill Google.