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Chamber of Commerce v. Servin (Yes Men)

Topic(s): First Amendment

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The Chamber of Commerce brought this suit in response to a hoax by the Yes Men, a group of political activists. Impersonating representatives of the Chamber, the Yes Men held a press conference purporting to announce a major change in the Chamber’s position on climate-change legislation. The hoax was intended to draw public attention to the Chamber’s lobbying campaign against such legislation. The Chamber claimed that the press conference infringed its trademarks. Public Citizen filed a brief as amicus curiae, arguing that the hoax was protected by the First Amendment and did not implicate trademark law. While these motions were pending, the Chamber used the UDRP and the pro-corporate National Arbitration Forum to obtain transfer of the domain name, and has now dismissed its federal trademark action.