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Circuit City Stores, Inc. v. Steven C. Shane

Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - Use of Brand Names in Domain Names and Metatags
Citation: No. C-1-00-0141(Ohio)
Date Of Involvement: 03/23/2000

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Shane, a Cincinnati-area lawyer who was handling a class-action suit against electronics retailer Circuit City, set up a “Circuit City Consumer Alert” web site using the domain name circuitcitylawsuit.com. Circuit City sued in Ohio state court for trademark infringment and sought a preliminary injunction. Public Citizen removed, arguing that the case arose under the federal Lanham Act, and argued that an injunction would violate the First Amendment and that trademark law does not forbid the use of a company’s name to inform the public about alleged corporate wrongdoing. The trial court remanded to state court without addressing the merits. The case was ultimately settled.