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Internet Trademark Case Summaries

Hasbro Inc. v. Clue Computing Inc.

994 F.Supp. 34 (D. Mass. 1997)

In this dispute involving the right to use the domain name “clue.com,” Rhode Island‑based Hasbro, Inc., owner of the federally registered mark CLUE for board games, sued defendant Clue Computing Inc. (“Clue”), a Colorado computer consulting company and registrant of the domain name “clue.com,” for trademark infringement and dilution.  After Clue Computing successfully fought Hasbro’s attempt to have NSI, the domain name registrar, place its domain name on hold, Hasbro filed this suit against Clue in Massachusetts, where Hasbro’s Parker Brothers division (maker of the CLUE® board game) and Hasbro Interactive (maker of the CD-Rom version of the CLUE® game) were headquartered.  The focus of the court’s jurisdictional inquiry was Clue’s website, which advertised Clue’s business as “completely virtual,” announced that “Clue will go to any customers site,” listed a Massachusetts company, as a past client, published Clue’s address and phone number, and permitted visitors to the website to send an e-mail to Clue.  Clue’s other forum contacts consisted of just eight phone calls to the forum and one purchase of software from a Massachusetts company.  The court found that the availability of Clue’s website in Massachusetts twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, amounted to the regular solicitation of business in Massachusetts in satisfaction of the requirements of the Massachusetts long-arm statute.  The court also held that its exercise of personal jurisdiction was constitutionally permissible and reasonable based on the above activities.