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27 September 2011

Web hosting entity and its owner found liable for contributory trademark infringement

In Louis Vuitton Malletier SA v Akanoc Solutions Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in a unanimous opinion, has upheld the jury verdict against Akanoc Solutions Inc and its owner for contributory trademark infringement for hosting websites of Chinese companies selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton goods.

13 September 2011

Cybercriminal takes ‘get rich click!’ advice too far

Cybercriminal Daniel Goncalves has had the dubious honour of becoming the first person to receive a prison term for domain name theft. In July 2011 he was sentenced to five years in prison by the New Jersey State Superior Court after pleading guilty of stealing the domain name ‘p2p.com’.

12 July 2011

Could the US PROTECT-IP Act really stifle online business and innovation?

A group of law professors has urged the US Congress to reject the PROTECT-IP Act, which was broadly welcomed by trademark owners in May. The act “may represent the biggest threat to the Internet in its history”, write the opponents, who include Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig, and trademark bloggers Eric Goldman and Rebecca Tushnet. Meanwhile, INTA has issued a statement in support of the proposed law.

08 July 2011

Further Notice of Inquiry on IANA’s future contract published

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has published a Further Notice of Inquiry that includes a Draft Statement of Work intended to "detail the work requirements" for the functions of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority and, effectively, to form the basis for the authority’s future contract.

28 June 2011

Fashion company awarded $164 million against online counterfeiters

Women's fashion company Tory Burch LLC has obtained a damage award of $164 million - perhaps the largest ever damage award in a fashion products counterfeiting case - against online retailers. The claims included trademark infringement, counterfeiting and cybersquatting resulting from the online offer and sale of counterfeit Tory Burch clothing and accessories under more than 200 domain names, including 'ToryBurchOutlets.com'.

08 June 2011

No personal jurisdiction as defendant did not target forum state’s market

In be2 LLC v Ivanov, considering whether a New Jersey website operator was subject to personal jurisdiction in Illinois, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that, for personal jurisdiction to arise, a defendant must in some way target the forum state’s market in addition to operating an interactive website that is accessible from the forum state.

07 June 2011

Registrant found to lack bad faith in UDRP dispute loses in ACPA action

In Newport News Holdings Corp v Virtual City Vision Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has considered whether a domain name registrant who had prevailed in a UDRP proceeding possessed legitimate rights in the domain name in a subsequent court action for federal cybersquatting.

13 April 2011

US government accidently shuts down 84,000 websites

As part as an operation targeting child pornography websites, the US government has inadvertently shut down 84,000 websites. This led many users to question whether the government was abusing its authority, especially as the court hearings required to seize the domain names often take place behind closed doors, and domain names owners are not given a chance to defend themselves before the domain names are seized.

04 April 2011

VERICHECK held to be suggestive for check verification services

In Lahoti v VeriCheck Inc, considering a second appeal in a cybersquatting case, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a district court’s finding that the trademark VERICHECK was suggestive (as opposed to descriptive) and was thus protected without a showing of secondary meaning when used in connection with check verification services.

30 March 2011

Ninth Circuit clarifies test for keyword advertising cases

In Network Automation Inc v Advanced Systems Concepts Inc, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has held that, in the internet context, the well-known Sleekcraft likelihood of confusion factors needed to be applied in a flexible manner, focusing on the overall impression created by the use of the trademark in the context of the search results page and the sophistication of the internet user.

23 February 2011

Nearly $300,000 awarded to plaintiff in keyword case against competitor

In Binder v Disability Group Inc, the US District Court for the Central District of California has held that the use of the plaintiff’s registered trademark by a competitor to trigger advertisements linking to the competitor’s website constituted trademark infringement, false advertising and unfair competition. The court awarded $292,000 in damages to the plaintiff.

18 February 2011

US government tightens grip on counterfeiters, but not without controversy

Earlier this week the US government seized 18 more domain names from websites selling counterfeit goods. The action was part of the ongoing Operation In Our Sites campaign, waged by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Popular with brand owners, the programme provokes high-level controversy – this week the US Senate reopened the debate over the bill that could make domain name seizures more commonplace.

03 February 2011

Contributory cybersquatting and trademark dilution are valid causes of action

In Microsoft Corporation v Shah, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington has recognised two novel causes of action for contributory cybersquatting and contributory trademark dilution. The court denied the defendants’ motion to dismiss because both cybersquatting and trademark dilution are “tort-like cause[s] of action” that naturally lend themselves to the theory of contributory liability.

01 February 2011

Keywords attract 11 million visits to fake sportswear sites

As gridiron fans limber up for the Super Bowl this weekend and sports brand owners build anti-counterfeiting strategies to fight the fake goods aimed at sports fans, new data shows that keyword ads pose a real threat to genuine goods. Over one-quarter of sponsored search results promoting sportswear are suspected of offering counterfeits, driving an estimated 11 million annual visits.

15 December 2010

Verizon, HP and RadioShack take on Apple in new keywords war

While disputes over Google's AdWords policy rage on, Verizon, HP and RadioShack each appear to have paid Twitter to promote their messages whenever a user searches for the term 'Apple'. Is Twitter set to become the new trademark battleground?