A former law firm associate who registered a ".net" domain name identical to the ".com" domain name of his former employer and used the domain name to host a "gripe site" containing criticism of the firm and its employees was not entitled to dismissal of trademark infringement and cybersquatting claims, a district court ruled. With respect to the trademark infringement and dilution claims, the court concluded that the use of the law firm's name in the domain name "could conceivably cause confusion" as to affiliation with the firm, and commercial use by the former associate could be inferred from the fact that the site contained material referring to the former associate as an attorney and included a link to his professional e-mail address. The court also found with respect to the bad faith factor under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act that it could be plausibly inferred that the former associate intended to divert customers from the law firm's Web site to the gripe site in order to promote his own legal services, and to tarnish the goodwill associated with the law firm's name.
Levinson Axelrod v. Heyburn, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43391 (D.N.J. May 3, 2010) (Unpublished) Download PDF