USDC N.D. California, March 31, 2009
Plaintiff Craigslist, Inc., operator of the popular Craigslist.com website, filed suit against defendants for breach of contract, inducing breach of contract, intentional interference with contractual relations, fraud, trademark infringement under state law, computer fraud and abuse, and unauthorized access of a website and computer system. The individual defendant moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing that the state law claims were preempted by the Copyright Act, and moved for a more definite statement. The court denied both motions.
The court also held that plaintiff’s trademark infringement claim based on the use of the trademark Craigslist in domain names and email addresses is not preempted by the Copyright Act because “the rights protected under trademark law are not the same rights protected under the Copyright Act.”
The court also rejected defendants’ argument that plaintiff’s state trademark infringement claim is preempted by the Lanham Act. The court noted that the statement in Mr. Donut of America, Inc. v. Mr. Donut, Inc., 418 F.2d 838 (9th Cir. 1969), that “[t]he Lanham Act has preempted the field of trademark law and controls,” subsequently was rejected by the Ninth Circuit and that the Ninth Circuit has held that California state trademark infringement is not preempted by the Lanham Act because it affords more protection to trademark owners than federal trademark law.