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US Consumers Facing Trademark Infringement Suits Over Online Complaints

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

03 December 2004


According to recent reports in the legal media, disgruntled consumers who use the internet to air their grievances against companies that have provided them with poor quality goods or services are increasingly finding themselves the target of trademark infringement lawsuits filed by the firms in question.

According to the US National Law Journal, there are at present more than 70 internet sites which were established for the sole purpose of complaining about a particular company. Of these, 25 have been the target of litigation, and there are currently another dozen trademark infringement cases of this nature pending.

The NLJ observed that the fact that just two such sites have been closed down indicates that the courts are not taking the complaints of targeted firms seriously, and are more inclined to protect the aggrieved consumers' freedom of speech.

However, speaking to the legal journal this week, David Arkush, attorney and representative of the Public Citizen Litigation Group, suggested that victory in the courts may not be the true aim of companies which hit back at their critics in this way.

"Companies that initiate this litigation know they probably won't win but do it in the hopes of silencing their critics anyway because, obviously, it's very expensive to defend a case like this," he observed.


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