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Internet Trademark Case Summaries

Bensusan Restaurant Corp. v. King

937 F. Supp. 295 (S.D.N.Y. 1996), aff'd, 126 F.3d 25 (2d Cir. 1997)

Plaintiff owned the federally registered trademark THE BLUE NOTE and operated a famous New York jazz club bearing the same name.  Defendant operated a small jazz nightclub in Missouri called THE BLUE NOTE and obtained a website located on a local Internet provider’s server to promote events at his club.  Although defendant’s website provided a phone number for interested persons to call to order tickets to a show, those tickets had to be picked up in person at the club’s box office in Missouri.  The court reasoned that no infringing activity was directed at New York because any confusion that might be experienced by New York Internet users who took the necessary steps to attend defendant’s show would occur in Missouri, not New York.  The court further concluded that defendant had made no effort to serve a New York market where the evidence showed that 99% of defendant’s revenue was derived from ticket sales to local residents and defendant’s promotional activities on the Internet were directed locally.