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Coca Cola Co. v. Purdy

Anti-abortion activist registered domain names using several different companies’ trademarks as a way of drawing public attention to websites denouncing abortion through graphic photographs of dismembered fetuses. After he was sued, he added a small amount of content related to the companies. Public Citizen argued that, because his websites were not “about” the companies whose trademarks he was using, his use of the trademarks in the domain names could not be justified. We argued, however, that if Purdy developed content that was specific to the companies and proposed to use domain names that fairly described the contents of such websites, an injunction forbidding any domain name that did not use a critical word within the domain name could become overbroad.

The Eighth Circuit refused to accept Public Citizen’s amicus brief, and ruled against Purdy, treating his demand for donations and for editorial space as cybersquatting, and without addressing whether he could use similar domain names if his web site’s content were different.