How to Avoid a Hairy Lawsuit: Free Speech Continues to Reign!


Court says man can disparage company on Web: A man can disparage a hair-restoration company on a Web site using the company’s name without violating copyright law, an appeals court ruled Monday.

So….what are the implications for blogging? How is this really different?

Bosley Medical Institute in Seattle sued former client Michael Kremer after he created a Web site in 2000 in a “bald-faced effort to get even” with the company, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said. Kremer, who had been unhappy with the outcome of his hair restoration, used the company’s name in the Web site address, www.bosleymedical.com. The company claimed his use of the name was trademark infringement.

Note this interesting distinction from the appeals court..

But the appeals court disagreed, saying the Web site was not created to make a profit or to confuse Bosley’s customers and potential clients. There were no links on the site to other hair-restoration providers, the court noted. Kremer’s attorney, Paul Levy, said the decision “is an important victory for free speech on the Internet. It makes clear that consumers can use a trade name for a company they want to criticize.”

What are they saying … as long as you don’t make a profit or confuse people you can say whatever you want? Hmmm. Very interesting.

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