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 Update 36: January 27, 2006


1. Study examines DMCA Cease-and-Desist Letters

Laura Quilter and Jennifer Urban, Director of the Intellectual Property Clinic at the University of Southern California, have released a summary report of findings from a study of takedown notices sent pursuant to Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and submitted by the recipients to the Chilling Effects clearinghouse. The report, titled "Efficient Process or 'Chilling Effects'? Takedown Notices Under Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," traces the use of the Section 512 takedown process.

According to the report nearly one-third of takedown notices submitted to online service providers under the DMCA are for claims that may not justify takedown. One of 11 notices had significant statutory flaws (failure to properly identify the allegedly infringing work, failure to provide contact information, failure to provide a way to locate the allegedly infringing work etc.), that render them invalid.

Another result of the study: Businesses targeting apparent competitors accounted for 57 % of the takedown notices submitted to Google Inc. seeking removal of links from the index.


2. National Arbitration Forum: Yahoo! v. Bill Skipton

Complainant Yahoo! Inc. commenced an action against Respondent, Bill Skipton, asserting that Respondent’s "" domain name was confusingly similar to Complainant’s Y! mark. Respondent was using the disputed domain name to sell software designed to hack into Complainant’s Yahoo! Messenger software. The Panel noted that the only similarity between Complainant’s Y! mark and the "" domain name was the letter “y,” which was insufficient to satisfy the first element of the Policy.  "...Thus reduced, this proceeding presents what appears to be a novel proposition, which is that a single letter of the English alphabet, in this instance the letter Y, may ground a claim of confusing similarity within the meaning of Policy... Complainant argues, in essence, that Y can only stand for Y!.  But Y is not Y!.  It is no more than a literal truth that the expressive punctuation for which Complainant is well known is fully half its mark. And, as was noted in Entrepreneur Media, supra, small differences matter.  Indeed, without the exclamation mark, Y is just Y.  It could as easily stand for the chemical element yttrium, or instead for YMCA, or, particularly aptly here, an unknown quantity."


3. National Arbitration Forum: Link to lawsuit site against mark holder shows bad faith

The complainent owned a registered trademark for "Champion Mortgage". The respondent used the disputed domain name "" to redirect users to a commercial website for respondants gain. This was not a bona fide offering of goods or services, the panalist said. Although the respondant also provided consumers with information and services regarding a lawsuit against the Complainant, the National Arbitration Forum held that the use of a domain to link to a lawsuit site against the mark holder showes bad faith: "... However, the Panel is not aware that one suing another who holds a protected trademark acquires some right to use the targeted litigant’s protected mark in ways that benefit the user and not the holder of the mark." 


4. Click Defense v. Google Update

On June 24, 2005, Click Defense, a company which provides software to keep track of Pay-Per-Click advertising, sued Google Inc. in the US District Court in San Jose, claiming that the search engine has failed to protect users of its advertising program from "click fraud," costing them at least $5 million.

In December 2005, the company said in a statement it wanted to withdraw as the lead plaintiff named in the lawsuit in order to focus on its own business. "We remain a member of the class and our click fraud claims against Google will still be litigated when and if the class is certified." Scott Boyenger, Click Defense's Chief Executive Officer is quoted. AIT, a $34 million-a-year Internet service provider serving customers in the mid-Atlantic states and the Carolinas, said it plans to take over as lead plaintiff.

A hearing on the motion for class certification in the Google click fraud case has been scheduled for May of 2006.


  • December 9, 2005: Click fraud suit changes hand, The Register:
    "Click Defense, a web analytics firm that intiated proceedings against Google in June, alleging that the search engine was failing to stop click fraud, is to be replaced as lead plaintiff in the suit by web hosting firm Advanced Internet Technology (AIT)"

  • December 9, 2005: Kläger gegen Google zieht sich zurück,
    "Im Juni sorgte das US-Unternehmen Click Defense für Schlagzeilen, als es ein als Sammelklage angelegtes Verfahren gegen Google beantragte..."

  • December 7, 2005: Stefanie, Olsen, Click fraud in the courts, CNet:
    "Click fraud is the search industry's dirty secret."


5. Salu, Inc. v. Pitts

The Plaintiff (Salu) had obtained a high ranking in search results generated from searches for products sold through its website As one example, his website achieved a ranking in or about fourth place for a search of the product name “Hylexin”. Then the defendants started operating a website called The complaint alleges that defendants knowingly have copied Salu’s web content to take over Salu’s high position in search rankings. Since then no longer maintained its high ranking when a search for the product “hylexin” is conducted using the search engine. Instead, the website “” appeared in exactly the same place in the search rankings that should appear. Upon information and belief of the plaintiff, the Google search engine has identified the website as a substitute or update of the website, and substituted the former in the latter’s place in search rankings for this product. Salu claims he faces a significant loss of its economic advantage and significant loss of sales, as fewer prospective customers are able to find its website through the operation of common search engines like

The complaint can be found at:


6. Google receives Notice to Sue for Libel from dotWorlds

According to a press release Google's refusal to take decisive measures to remove what dotWORLDS claims is libelous content from its search engine has caused the Domain Names Registrar to serve notice of its intention to commence an action for defamation and slander. The press release can be found here!


7. Updates on some older cases

Agence France Press v. Google Inc.: The French news agency AFP (Agence France-Presse)  sued Google Inc. before the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., for pulling together photos and story excerpts from thousands of news Web sites (see Update 29). In its brief filed Oct. 12 Google argued that news headlines that are purely factual and merely ten words long lack sufficient orginality to preclude others from copying them. Google also seeks dismissal of the lawsuit on the ground that Agence France has failed to identify the allegedly infringed works with sufficient precision.


Perfect 10, Inc. v. Google, Inc.: The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California consolidated a pair of copyright infringement lawsuits brought by publisher Perfect 10 against and Google. Perfect 10 claims that the A9 and Google search engines help users locate infringing thumbnails of Perfect 10's copyrighted photos (also see Update 25).


8. Protection of the trademark "Mèridien" in France

The company Société des Hôtels Mèridien is the owner of the trademark "Mèridien" and was already involved in an Adword related lawsuit against Google (see AdWord lawsuits in France). The company also brought a lawsuit against Mr. H, who had registrated the domain name "", and the company SEDO, through which Mr. H put up the domain for sale at the price of 10.000 Euros. Not very surprisingly, the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris held in its judgement issued on September 23, 2005, that the registration of the domain name constitutes an unjustified use of the notorious "Mèridien" trademark. But SEDO was also held liable for the trademark infringement. The court considered that SEDO offers an expertise to help determining the price of a domain name. The analysis requested by Mr. H. stated: "...hotel-meridien is not a real term but the name of a hotel chain known by all, so the domain name will be easy to remember by anyone ... the purchase of the domain name "" appears very likely and risky at the same time ... the expression "very likely" simply means that the domain name is for sale on SEDO (even though at an unreasonable price in my opinion) and "risky" translates into the fact that acquiring this domain name can be viewed as an act of cyber-squatting of the notorious hotel chain".


9. International Conference on Legal, Security and Privacy Issues in IT

From April 30 to May 3, 2006 the first international conference on legal, security and privacy issues in IT (LSPI) will take place in Hamburg, Germany. With speakers from many different countries, it seems to be a very interesting event. More information can be found at It is very likely I will also attend, but I wont register before the final program of the event is released. Everyone who also plans to attend, please inform me. I would very much welcome the opportunity to meet some of the people who regularily visit my website. Maybe I can organize a "Links & Law dinner".


New in Legal Resources

  • Gabel, Detlev, Die Haftung für Hyperlinks im Lichte des neuen UWG, WRP 2005, 1102-1118

  • Köcher, Jan, Anmerkung zu LG Stuttgart, Urteil vom 15.6.2005, 38 Ns 2 Js 21471/02, MMR 2005, 717-718

  • Goldman, Eric, Search Engine Bias and the Demise of Search Engine Utopianism

  • Arnott, Alan, New Internet law confirmed after Federal Court cracks down on hyperlinker and ISP, Computer & Law 2005, September issue, pp. 17-18

  • Study of DMCA Takedown Notices Finds High Incidence of Questionable Use, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 1151

  • Simple Headlines are not copyrightable, Google argues in dispute with Agence France, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 1022-1023

  • Chinese Web Portal, Facing Lawsuits, Removes Link to Free Unauthorized Music, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 1041-1042

  • Importance of search in public sphere prompts discussion of regulating industry, Electronic Commerce & Law Report 2005, 1155-1156

  • Engels, Thomas, eDonkey-Links nach der Entscheidung des Landgerichts Hamburg

  • Schaefer, Matthias, Kennzeichenrechtliche Haftung von Suchmaschinen für AdWords - Rechtsprechungsüberblick und kritische Analyse, MMR 2005, 807-810





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Latest News - Update 71

Legal trouble for YouTube in Germany

Germany: Employer may google job applicant

EU: Consultation on the E-Commerce-Directive

WIPO Paper on tradmarks and the internet

The ECJ and the AdWords Cases



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