On Jan. 12, Western District Judge Ricardo Martinez refused to dismiss such claims plaintiff brought in Microsoft Corp. v. Shah.
In that case, Microsoft alleges defendants, among other things, induced others to engage in cybersquatting and dilution by instructing them on how to use Microsoft trademarks to increase traffic on their Web sites. Microsoft also alleges defendants sold a product that contained software that enabled buyers to create Web sites incorporating Microsoft marks to help sell emoticon-related software, including a video narrated by defendant Amish Shah.
Defendants moved to dismiss, arguing claims for contributory cybersquatting and contributory dilution are not recognized.
The court denied the motion.
This is an interesting development, and one to watch, in light of what I see as the overall reluctance of courts to extend the law of secondary liability for trademark infringement — including with respect to domain name registrars.