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Taubman v. Mishkoff

Close Date: 02/01/2003
Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - Use of Brand Names in Domain Names and Metatags
Status: closed
Citation: 319 F 3d 770 (6th Cir. 2003)
Date Of Involvement: 11/12/2001
Docket: 01-72987

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A Dallas resident created a web site praising a local shopping mall, the Shops at Willow Bend, using the domain name shopsatwillowbend.com, and was sued for his trouble by the mall developer, the Taubman Company, who claimed that the web site and domain name violated its trademark in the mall's name. When the web operator created a new web site called using names like taubmansucks.com and shopsatwillowbendsucks.com to protest the wasteful litigation against him, the developer sought a preliminary injunction asking that the new sites be stricken as well.

The Court of Appeals reversed the preliminary injunction in its entirety, ruling both that the Lanham Act does not apply to the use of trademarks on purely non-commercial web sites, and that the use of a trademark in a domain name for a web site about the trademark holder or the trademarked product does not create a likelihood of confusion do long as the web site is not confusing about its source. Following the appellate decision, plaintiff dismissed its lawsuit.