Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Yahoo! Inc. v. Kay
Civ. A. No. 99-727-A (E.D. Va. May 21, 1999)
Plaintiff, operator of the popular YAHOO! Internet site, owned the YAHOO! and YAHOOLIGANS! trademarks. Defendants were “typosquatters,” who registered the following domain names containing variations of plaintiff’s trademarks: “eeeyahoo.com,” ”yaholigans.com,” ”yahholigans.com,” ”yahooligas.com,” ”ahooligans.com,” ”wwyahooligans.com,” and ”yaooligans.com.” These domain names connected to defendants’ websites, which contained a repeating loop of pornography. The court granted plaintiff’s motion for an ex parte temporary restraining order, finding that plaintiff had a strong likelihood of proving at trial that defendants’ use of their domain names tarnished and thus diluted the value of plaintiff’s distinctive and famous marks. Particularly persuasive to the court was evidence of emails received by plaintiff from angry parents and teachers whose children or students mistakenly reached defendants’ pornographic websites instead of plaintiff’s sites.