Trademark

A Great UDRP Decision Search Engine

by Lee Gesmer on October 17, 2008

USpeakWeType Technologies, LLC has done the trademark bar a big favor by creating a UDRP search engine. This is the first time we have had access to the enormous volume of material that has been decided in the UDRP arbitrations.

An example: assume that you are involved in an arbitration that has been assigned to panelist Ian Bradshaw. A search on his name shows that he has decided nine cases, involving brands as well known as Volvo and Chivas. He has ruled in favor of the complainant (either via tranfer or cancellation of the respondent’s domain) in every case. It would be nice to know this, wouldn’t it?

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"Brandsucks.com"

by Lee Gesmer on October 17, 2008

Did you ever wonder how many large companies register their own “sucks” domain names (as in “microsoftsucks.com” or “AIGsucks.com”) in order to prevent someone else from doing so? Like, some unfriendly nasty that wants to use the site to bash the company?

How many “CIOs” (“chief information officer,” for the uninitiated; don’t blame yourself if you didn’t know this), wish they had registered variations of their companies’ names before the “gripers” got ahold of them? Many, I suspect. Check out ebaysucks.com or alitaliasucks.com for example. Nasty stuff, for sure. Not good corporate publicity, for sure.

Bet the folks at eBay and Alitalia wish they’d grabbed these domain names before they were picked up by gripers. The cost of buying “ebaysucks.com” before someone else does is close to zero. It’s just a matter of anticipation.

Of course, its hard for companies to challenge the ownership of sites like these, since a clever owner can claim First Amendment protection as long as he or she doesn’t misstep and use the domain in a way that results in consumer confusion.… Read the full article

The Laugh Test

by Lee Gesmer on September 22, 2008

[Update: decision denying Blockshopper’s Motion to Dismiss]

[Update: Jones Days’ Opposition to Blockshopper’s Motion to Dismiss]

Blockshopper.com is one of many small web sites that have sprung up to follow local residential real estate markets. So far, the site highlights purchases in upscale neighborhoods in Chicago, St. Louis, South Florida and Las Vegas. The site identifies purchasers by name, street address of the property and the price paid. Of course, this information is available in local real estate publications (like Banker & Tradesman here in Boston) or at the local registry of deeds. Blockshopper also performs an Internet search on the person, and based on what it finds identifies the purchaser’s job title and employer. When it can, the site pulls a photo of the person from somewhere on the Internet (like the purchaser’s company site), and pastes it into the item. If the home purchaser has an online bio, the site will link to it.… Read the full article

White on White

by Lee Gesmer on September 9, 2008

Meta tags consist of words and phrases that are intended to describe the contents of a website. These descriptions are embedded within the website’s computer code. Although websites do not display their meta tags to visitors, Internet search engines utilize meta tags in various ways. First, when a computer user enters particular terms into an Internet search engine, the engine may rank a webpage that contains the search terms within its meta tags higher in the list of relevant results. Second, when a particular webpage is listed as a relevant search result, the search engine may use the meta tags to provide the searcher a brief description of the web page.

Brookfield Commc’ns, Inc. v. W. Coast Entm’t Corp., 174 F.3d 1036, 1045 (9th Cir. 1999)

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The First Circuit has affirmed a finding of trademark infringement based on the defendant’s use of meta tags to attract potential customers of the plaintiff using search engines to find the plaintiff’s web site.… Read the full article