Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Ken Roberts Co. v. Go-To.Com
2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6740 (N.D. Cal. May 11, 2000)
Plaintiffs provide educational materials and home-study courses on commodities trading developed by plaintiff Ken Roberts. Plaintiffs sued numerous defendants, including two competitors, Softrade Inc. and Hi-Tech Futures Trading, Inc. These two defendants both used the KEN ROBERTS name prominently on their websites and as metatags, and one also used photographs or likenesses of Ken Roberts on its website. Both defendants failed to appear, and the court entered a default judgment against them, finding that their actions constituted, among other things, false designation of origin under section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, federal trademark dilution, a misappropriation of Ken Roberts’s name and likeness under California Civil Code § 3344, and interference with plaintiffs’ prospective economic advantage by knowingly diverting current or potential Ken Roberts course members from plaintiffs’ website to their own. The court permanently enjoined defendants from making any commercial use of plaintiffs’ trademarks and of Ken Roberts’s name and likeness, including in metatags. The court awarded statutory damages against each defendant of $750 under California Civil Code § 3344, and awarded attorney’s fees of $3,900 against each defendant.