Internet Trademark Case Summaries
Einhorn v. Mergatroyd Productions
426 F.Supp.2d 189 (S.D.N.Y. 2006)
Plaintiff directed, blocked, and choreographed an “Off Off Broadway” production of the play Tam Lin. Defendants include the author and producers of the play. Defendants allegedly agreed to pay plaintiff $1,000 for his work but the parties never signed a written contract. Defendants fired plaintiff the day before the play opened and refused to pay him his $1,000 directorial fee. After the play ran through its eight scheduled performances, defendants posted a full-length performance of the play on their websites and included plaintiff’s name in the metatags of the websites. Plaintiff sued defendants for, inter alia, violating Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act and the New York deceptive practices statute. The court granted defendants’ motion to dismiss the Lanham Act claim, finding that plaintiff did not have a valid mark. Plaintiff neither alleged that he used his name as a mark nor that his name had acquired secondary meaning. The court also dismissed plaintiff’s deceptive practices claim. Although plaintiff alleged that the metatags caused people searching for plaintiff to be diverted to defendants’ websites, plaintiff failed to allege any “direct, non-derivative injury” that the New York statute required.