October 2008


An excellent court decision crossed my desk at Traverse Internet Law about the August 28, 2008 First Circuit Court of Appeals opinion confirming a judgment for over $400,000 against a small business for Trademark Infringement. The defendant used a competitor’s name in its “metatags”, and in the content of the site in white lettering with a white background, obviously for SEO purposes. Both the US District Court that awarded the judgment and the First Circuit agreed that both uses infringed on the plaintiff’s trademarks and confirmed the judgment.

Dozens of these types of cases are pending across the country. The primary issue is whether the use of a business name either directly or indirectly by a competitor is trademark infringement. Six cases were filed last month over this issue. At Traverse Internet Law we deal with this issue often, and it is garnering the attention of businesses, lawyers and the Courts in a big way.

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Traverse Internet Law is involved extensively in the law of online defamation. This case serves as a “worst case scenario” warning for those who elect to use the web as a vehicle of attack. Sue Scheff and her small business obtained a jury award of over $6 Million in compensatory and $5 in punitive damages, and the District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida confirmed and upheld the jury award and judgment against a lady who had allegedly undertaken defamatory attacks against the plaintiff. Traverse Internet Law counsels parties on both sides of these types of disputes, and this is the largest judgment we have seen for online defamation.

Traverse Internet Law is an internet lawyer firm specializing in the law of the web. While many online legal commentators and online “internet lawyers” and “professors” are either biased, have an agenda to pursue, or simply do not understand the technical and business aspects of the web.  The firm represents both sides of disputes and at Traverse Internet Law we are often testing the arguments on both sides. This blog is about damages…damages that could flow from liability resulting from online activities. We give the same advice and guidance to plaintiffs and defendants. At Traverse Internet Law our focus is on balancing the competing and complex issues of doing business online.