EBG Shuts Down Cybersquatter, Protects Trademarks with TRO and, Later, Judgment
Epstein Becker Green’s civil action on behalf of a medical school client led to a temporary restraining order (TRO) and, later, a preliminary injunction issued against a disgruntled former student. That former student set up websites with infringing domain names that would emerge in standard Internet search engines and divert those seeking actual client websites to land on the former student’s webpages filled with vitriolic anti-client rhetoric; statements disparaging the client, its educational services and its officers; and factually false information concerning the client, its graduation rates, and certain financial matters.
The facts and legal arguments developed by Epstein Becker Green led to the court enjoining such conduct and disabling the websites, which occurred in less than 12 hours from the issuance of the first order. The court found a likelihood of success on the merits on the contract claims, trademark infringement claims, and cybersquatting claims, concluding that the client had demonstrated defendant’s “bad faith” under Title 15 of the United States Code and rejecting the former student’s claims of non-commercial speech entitled to protection.
In early 2014, federal Judge Anne E. Thompson, sitting in New Jersey, found that the rogue former student had breached his non-disparagement obligations under a prior settlement agreement and had wrongfully infringed upon our client’s trademark rights in violation of the federal Anticybersquatting Act. Judge Thompson permanently enjoined defendant and all those acting in concert with him, including all Internet registrars and hosting entities, from publishing or disseminating any statements intended to disparage the medical school and its administrators.