deVere Group GMBH v. Opinion Corp.
Case #: 11–cv–3360 (FB)(LB)
Full Text Opinion: http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=12982237260878905225&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
Trademarks: Use of company name and description in web address for an internet consumer review site does not show plausible confusion required for a trademark violation.
Opinion (Block): The international financial consulting company, deVere, was listed on the website PissedConsumer.com, which is owned by Opinion Corp. This listing contained a seemingly professional synopsis of what deVere does, along with reviews such as, “Devere stole my pension” and “Devere LiesConmen-Fraudsters.” These titles and the Devere subdomain of the pissedconsumer.com website appear among the highest results on google when “deVere” is searched. After discovering these less-than-desirable search results, deVere sued Opinion Corp for trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin under the Lanham Act. DeVere accused Opinion Corp. of creating the appearance that deVere sponsored, had authorized, or was somehow affiliated with pissedconsumer.com. Opinion Corp. motioned to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The court looked to the likelihood of confusion between pissedconsumer.com and deVere. Citing a history of “gripe site” cases, the court found that there was little chance of confusion between the gripe site and the company being griped about. The court was skeptical that anyone would think deVere authorized pissedconsumer.com’s representation of deVere. Without a plausible inference of intentional deception, the court GRANTED Opinion Corp’s motion to dismiss.