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Internet Trademark Case Summaries

Yahoo! Inc. v. Wu

Civ. A. No. 00-178-A (E.D. Va. Feb. 3, 2000)

Defendants registered the domain name “21yahoo.com,” operated a website bearing the mark 21YAHOO at that name, and offered free stock in a company called 21Yahoo.com, Inc.  Defendants also registered numerous other domain names containing variations of the YAHOO! mark.  Plaintiff began receiving complaints from consumers inquiring about a barrage of chain e-mail messages claiming that “Yahoo” had begun a new website in China entitled 21Yahoo and was offering ten shares of free stock in the new company for anyone who registered at the 21Yahoo.com site.  Plaintiff sued defendants alleging, inter alia, trademark infringement, dilution, and violation of the ACPA.  Addressing only the trademark infringement and false designation of origin claims, the court found plaintiff likely to succeed on the merits, noting that YAHOO! was a famous mark, and that the balance of harms weighed significantly in its favor.  The court granted a temporary restraining order, enjoining defendants from using the disputed marks and domain names and requiring NSI to put the domain names on “hold” pending the outcome of the proceedings.  The court subsequently granted plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction on February 11, 2000.