No Injuction Against Pissedconsumer.com
If there is one thing the Internet provides to users it is the ability to vent. Whether it’s a tweet railing about lousy customer service somewhere or a Facebook post detailing just how much a college student hates getting ready for final exams, the Web is a sympathetic ear. That’s so much the case that there are Web sites dedicated to allowing consumers not only to vent, but to organize the rants so that other consumers can check out what people think about various products and services. One of those sites is called “pissedconsumer.com.” I think you can guess what it’s for. But apparently, some subjects of pissed.com are well, p.o.’d themselves about the Web site. Software and developer Ascentive and mattress manufacturer Classic Brands have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that pissedconsumer .com violated their trademarks. The companies asked the court to issue an injunction to prevent the Web site from using the product names in their URL and to stop it from using aggressive search engine optimization tactics to call attention to the reviews on its site. The court denied the request. The problem for both companies is that the law they cited to justify the injunction just doesn’t apply to the conduct it sought to stop. Even if pissedconsumer.com uses the trademarks, it’s highly unlikely that anyone would be confused about the source, origin or affiliation of the site. And that finding is deadly to the trademark claim. Indeed, the court noted that pissedconsumer.com may use “sharp-elbowed and perhaps unethical SEO tactics.” But that’s not the point. The court allowed the underlying case to go forward and indicated he could reconsider the injunction if additional evidence comes to light. But for now, pissedconsumer.com lives.