I have — win, lose or draw — kept you all abreast of the progress of the various lawsuits against PissedConsumer.com (otherwise known as Opinion Corp.), the gripe site that people hate so much.
Why do some people hate PissedConsumer.com? Because they assume whatever someone writes about them in a lawsuit must be true! This is an ironic thing for people to do concerning a gripe site being sued for “defamation” under the cover of trademark infringement.
Well, anyway, rather than merely update the post from February linked to above, which includes links to the last three decisions involving PissedConsumer.com, it seemed reasonable at this juncture — for it is, after all, July already; about as un-February as you like — to put up a new post excerpting selections from today’s decision by District Judge Frederic Block in the Eastern District of New York, dismissing a Lanham Act trademark infringement claim against PissedConsumer.com for failure to state a claim for which relief can be granted.
Opinion Corp. creates “subdomains” for each of the companies reviewed on PissedConsumer. Complaints about deVere are posted on the subdomain devere- group.pissedconsumer.com (the “deVere subdomain”). The deVere subdomain page contains a brief description of the company, followed by a section labeled “Devere Group Complaints and Reviews.” Review headings include “Devere stole my pension” and “Devere Lies- Conmen-Fraudsters.” The Google search engine displays the deVere subdomain among the top results when a search is performed for “deVere” or “deVere Group.” DeVere attributes this high ranking to Opinion Corp’s search engine optimization (“SEO”) practices, through which Opinion Corp. makes the contents of PissedConsumer.com appear particularly relevant to the algorithms of search engines like Google. . . .
DeVere asserts a claim for “trademark infringement, unfair competition. . . [and] false designation of origin” under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125(a). . . .
DeVere contends that Opinion Corp. improperly used deVere’s trade names in text on PissedConsumer.com and in the deVere subdomain, in a manner “likely to cause confusion as to whether deVere is sponsoring, has authorized or is somehow affiliated with the services and products advertised by Opinion Corp. at PissedConsumer.com.” Defendants counter that (1) deVere fails to allege the existence of a protected trademark and (2) defendants’ use of deVere’s trade names is not likely to cause consumer confusion. . . . Read More…