Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Northland Ins. Cos. v. Blaylock
115 F. Supp. 2d 1108 (D. Minn. 2000).
After a dispute with plaintiff insurance company, defendant registered the domain “northlandinsurance.com,” through which he channeled traffic to his website at “sailinglegacy.com,” containing material critical of plaintiff. Plaintiff filed suit for trademark infringement, dilution, and violation of the ACPA. The court denied plaintiff’s motion for a preliminary injunction, finding plaintiff unlikely to succeed on the merits of its claims. Because defendant’s website criticized plaintiff and because it did not solicit any commercial activity, the court found consumer confusion was unlikely. Addressing the doctrine of initial interest confusion, the court found no such confusion as defendant had no “commercial incentive or motive in using plaintiff’s mark to attract ‘initial interest.’” Though plaintiff argued that defendant intended to sell the domain name to plaintiff, the court found insufficient evidence to infer defendant’s intent to commercially benefit from the domain-name registration. The court rejected plaintiff’s dilution claims because defendant’s website was noncommercial in nature. Regarding the ACPA claim, the court concluded that there was insufficient proof that the defendant registered and used the domain name with a bad-faith intent to profit.