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Internet Trademark Case Summaries

Intermatic Inc. v. Toeppen

947 F. Supp. 1227 (N.D. Ill. 1996)

Plaintiff Intermatic, owner of the trademark INTERMATIC in connection with electronic equipment, sought to enjoin defendant Toeppen from using the domain name “intermatic.com.”  In addition to registering “intermatic.com,” Toeppen had registered over 200 domain names containing names of well-known companies.  Toeppen never used the domain name “intermatic.com” to sell or promote any goods or services over the Internet.  His “intermatic.com” website initially contained information about a software program he was developing called “Intermatic,” but after a week he replaced the contents of the site with a map of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.  Toeppen did, however, intend to profit by selling or licensing the domain name to Intermatic.  Intermatic filed a motion for summary judgment.  Although the court found that certain factors weighed in favor of Intermatic on its infringement claim, summary judgment was inappropriate on that claim because of factual disputes on other factors (similarity in products, no evidence of actual confusion, and whether Toeppen willfully intended to pass his products off as those of Intermatic).  The court, however, granted summary judgment to Intermatic on its dilution claim under the Federal Dilution Act, finding that INTERMATIC was a famous mark and that Toeppen’s intent to arbitrage the “intermatic.com” domain name constituted a “commercial use” under the Act.  The court permanently enjoined Toeppen from using the mark INTERMATIC, from taking any action to prevent Intermatic from obtaining the domain name “intermatic.com,” and from asserting any further interest in that domain name.