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Anlin Industries v. Paul W. Burgess

A manufacturer of replacement windows sued a salesman who created a web site about its windows and posted it at the domain name AnlinWindows.com to help draw customers to whom he could sell plaintiff’s windows, and for whom he could then install those windows. Eventuially he registered other similar domain names, but never put them to use. At first Anlin liked the site, but when other sellers complained that the site gave Burgess an unfair advantage and allowed him to recruit customers in their areas, Anlin objected, and then sued Burgess for trademark infringement and cybersquatting. Representing himself pro se, Burgess defeated a motion for summary judgment on infrnigement but lost a judgment on the cybersquatting claim requiring him to transfer the domain names and pay $12,500 in statutory damages. Representing Burgess on appeal, Public Citizen argued that the district court’s application of the cybersquatting law rested on an overbroad construction of the law and that Burgess’ admittedly proper purpose in registering the domain names in the first place was not vitiated and transformed into cybersquatting just because Anlin had withdrawn its blessing for his site. The Court of Appeals reversed in an unpublished opinion with little reasoning. On remand, the case was settled, allowing Burgess to keep the domain names so long as the content remains entirely noncommercial.