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Argos v. Orthotec

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Citation Edit

Argos v. Orthotec, LLC, 304 F.Supp.2d 591 (D. Del. 2004) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

Plaintiff, a French nonprofit corporation that promotes and facilitates research in spinal surgery, has used the ARGOS name since 1996. Plaintiff owns and uses the domain name "argos-europe.com" to provide information about spinal surgery to the medical community. Defendant, whose managing member and largest shareholder was formerly a member of plaintiff, markets and sells spinal-surgery products and registered the domain name "argos-us.com." Plaintiff sued defendant for cybersquatting.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

The court denied defendant's motion to dismiss for lack of standing and failure to state a claim. Regarding standing, the court rejected defendant's argument that plaintiff could not show that it used the ARGOS mark in "continuous and substantial commerce" prior to 1999 when defendant registered "argos-us.com." Relying on Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. v. Bucci, the court held that plaintiff satisfied the "use in commerce" requirement by operating its website "argos-europe.com" to provide information about spinal surgery to people around the world.

Turning to defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court rejected defendant's argument that plaintiff had not sufficiently alleged that defendant had a bad-faith intent to profit from the ARGOS trademark because plaintiff did not allege or suggest that defendant offered or intended to sell the "argos-us.com" domain name to plaintiff or a third party. The court held that bad-faith intent can be proven by ways other than offering or intending to sell a domain name. Specifically, the court noted that plaintiff alleged that defendant "attempted to trade upon the goodwill that [plaintiff] established and to generate confusion among the relevant medical community as to the affiliation and sponsorship of [defendant's] activities." Accepting this allegation as true, as the court must do for a motion to dismiss, the court held that plaintiff's complaint sufficiently alleged a bad-faith intent to profit from plaintiff's mark.

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