Online use of trademarks and copyrights by “unauthorized distributors”

LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION does not generally comment about active cases in which we are directly involved. But a very important and detailed (61 pages!) summary judgment decision came down in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York last week, in the case of S & L Vitamins, Inc. v. Australian Gold, Inc., 2:05-cv-1217 in which I represent the plaintiff. And while we will not comment on the decision, for obvious reasons, any reader of this blog involved in trademarks and the Internet will want to read it. So here it is. Credit to David Nieporent, co-author on the plaintiff’s brief!

UPDATE: Cogent commentary from Eric Goldman and Matthew Sag; now comes Rebecca Tushnet.

Originally posted 2014-07-30 13:27:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

By Ron Coleman

LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION blog author Ron Coleman is a member of Dhillon Law Group in their New York City and Montclair, New Jersey offices. He is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law and Princeton University.

7 thoughts on “Online use of trademarks and copyrights by “unauthorized distributors””
  1. […] “In a recent ruling, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the notion that there is anything like a cause of action under the Lanham Act, the statu[t]e governing trademark law in the United States, for so-called ‘trademark disparagement,’ ” Coleman said. The courts have also rejected the notion that the use of a trademark as a search term is a “legally cognizable use” as a trademark use under federal trademark law, he added. Coleman is also general counsel for the Media Bloggers Association. […]

  2. […] This particular case — the complaint, courtesy of Evan, is here – raises an interesting issue in terms of how the prominent use of the desired brand name in the overall marketing campaign, along with a very generic description of the seller, could lead to confusion as to source (i.e., of the offer) or sponsorship. That would be fine with LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION® if that kind of analysis were reserved for allegedly close cases such as this, and not applied to retail sellers (typically online) of trademark-protected goods that are not “authorized” by the mark owner. (Yes, I am very biased.) In the midst of numerous decisions granting plenipotentiary powers over markets and marketing to anyone with a trademark registration, this could be just that hard case that could firm up an already troubling legal trend. But, hey, even trademark owners have rights! […]

Comments are closed.