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Internet Trademark Case Summaries

Patmont Motor Werks, Inc. v. Gateway Marine, Inc.

1997 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20877 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 17, 1997)

In this case defendant was not using plaintiff’s GO-PED trademark as part of the domain name for a website, but rather as part of the post-domain path identifying a particular page on defendant’s website, namely “www.idiosync.com/goped.”  The court found as a matter of law that defendant’s use of the mark in this manner was not a trademark violation because the mark was not part of the website’s domain name.  According to the court, a website’s domain name may serve as a source identifier, but the text following the domain name serves only an informational function of indicating the organization of the website’s data.  Thus, the fact that the GO-PED mark appeared in the text following the website’s domain name did not alter the court’s conclusion that defendant’s use of plaintiff’s GO-PED mark on his website to identify plaintiff’s particular brand of scooter was a fair use and not likely to cause confusion as to source or sponsorship.