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Crown Pontiac v. Ballock

Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - Use of Brand Names in Domain Names and Metatags
Status: closed
Citation: CV-02.C-1001-S (N.D. Ala)
Date Of Involvement: 07/01/2002

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In this cyberspeech case, Public Citizen defended Thomas Ballock's right to criticize the Crown Pontiac car dealership. Mr. Ballock purchased a defective car from Crown and was very unhappy with Crown's response to his complaints, so he posted a gripe site on the Internet in which he used Crown's name in the domain name and text. Mr. Ballock's site clearly stated that it was not Crown's official website, but rather a site critical of Crown. Crown sued Mr. Ballock under trademark and cybersquatting laws, but was eventually forced to drop its lawsuit and pay Mr. Ballock more than $6000 for the damages he incurred from Crown's attempt to enjoin his website.