Public Citizen pushes IP overreach back

Originally posted 2014-10-06 09:52:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Public Citizen logoGreg Beck of Public Citizen writes in with litigation news (I’ve added the links):

Public Citizen filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit in Florida by two affiliated informercial companies that are attempting to shut down negative reviews of their day trading software on the websites and The companies claimed that running a website where consumers can post reviews of their products constitutes trademark infringement and a variety of other wrongs, and sought triple damages and attorneys’ fees against the site’s owner. In its motion to dismiss, Public Citizen argues that the Arizona-based website operator is not subject to jurisdiction in Florida, that the websites are protected by the First Amendment, that posting reviews is not trademark infringement, and that the Communications Decency Act protects a website owner from liability for what users post on the site.

Well, yeah.  Especially these two:  “the websites are protected by the First Amendment, [and] posting reviews is not trademark infringement.”  Motion to dismiss?  I hope there’s a motion for sanctions in the pipeline.
It’s not infrequently possible to blind judges to what’s really going on by flashing a bunch of trademark registrations in front of them, usually in a big fat Exhibit A to a complaint.  Small businesses can’t keep up with the cost of defending their litigation activities, and are getting hammered by IP overreach.  This is one right-wing nut saying, thank God for Public Citizen on this issue.

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.

2 thoughts on “Public Citizen pushes IP overreach back”
  1. Nice post. In my early days as an attorney, a client of mine elicited the help of Public Citizen to co-counsel in a similar type of suit. Paul Levy (the attorney we worked with) and Public Citizen do excellent work.

  2. That brief is excellent! Sanctions seem to be clearly in order.

    I don’t know about Public Citizen’s jurisdictional argument. I agree with it in principle, but the 11th and the M.D. Fla. seem to be quite permissive with jurisdiction when it comes to trademark claims filed here.

    Nevertheless, the suit is doomed no matter what court it winds up in. If I were the attorneys for the plaintiff, I would walk…slowly…. toward…. the…. door…..and …. RUN!

    The complaint is here. I think the plaintiff’s attorneys might have missed the TDRA’s enactment by a few months… oh, and the First Amendment by a few centuries.

    I think the sanctions against the plaintiffs (and their counsel) should be that they have to go to a blackboard and write 1000 times:

    I will not mis-use trademark law to stifle negative reviews.

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