Falwell v. Cohn

Topic(s): 
Internet Free Speech — Use of Brand Names in Domain Names and Metatags
Case Description: 

Well-known fundamentalist preacher Jerry Falwell brought suit in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia against Illinois resident Gary Cohn, who established a humorous web site at  jerryfalwell.com that made fun of Falwell. Public Citizen moved to dismiss both for lack of personal jurisdiction and failure to state a claim, arguing that Cohn’s non-commercial gripe site did not violate the trademark laws. The trial court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction and did not reach the merits. After Cohn indicated that he was ready to file suit in Illinois, Cohn decided to give up the domain name.