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Salehoo v. Doe

Topic(s): Internet Free Speech - Right To Speak Anonymously
Internet Free Speech - Use of Brand Names in Domain Names and Metatags

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Description:

Salehoo, a New Zealand company that sells access to a database of suppliers of goods that may be sold on eBay, brought suit in federal court in Seattle against the anonymous operator of the domain name www.salehoosucks.com, claiming that the domain name infringed the trademark in the name of the company and that certain statements on the web site were defamatory. Salehoo then obtained an ex parte order authorizing discovery to identify the anonymous blogger, and sent a subpoena to GoDaddy, the Arizona company through which the name was registered. Public Citizen filed a motion to quash that subpoena, arguing that there is no trademark infringement because nobody could be confused about whether a web site whose name includes the word "sucks" and whose content was full of criticism was sponsored by the trademark holder. We also argue that a New Zealand company has no basis for suing in Washington and that the defamation claims are legally insufficient for several reasons. The court quashed the subpoena because plaintiff had not satisfied the Dendrite test.