Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Gerardange v. Templer
418 F. Supp. 2d 1169 (N.D. Cal. 2006)
Plaintiffs operated a television network and used the domain name “gapinternational.com” to promote it. Defendants included the web hosting service that hosted plaintiff’s website and Gap International, a Pennsylvanian consulting firm. Plaintiffs filed suit in state court for the unlawful transfer of “gapinternational.com” to Gap International. Defendants removed the case to federal court on the ground that federal jurisdiction existed because plaintiff asserted claims for infringement and cybersquatting. The court granted plaintiffs’ motion to remand the case to state court, finding that plaintiffs’ claims did “not implicate the Lanham Act or federal law.” Specifically, plaintiffs did not allege any confusion or likelihood of confusion in its complaint to support an infringement claim. Nor did the complaint support a cybersquatting claim. The court held that the ultimate issue was whether defendants converted or conspired to convert plaintiffs’ domain name. The court rebuffed defendants attempt to “translate every issue relating to the Internet into a federal question.” According to the court, “The Internet is not a talisman bestowing federal jurisdiction. There remains a place for state courts to determine the rights and responsibilities in the constantly evolving world of Internet Law. Congress has not indicated an intent to strip state courts of this role. While the Lanham Act bestows federal jurisdiction, it does so only over claims that explicitly fall under its scope.” The court also awarded plaintiffs $2600 in attorney’s fees and costs.