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Patentwizard v. Kinko's

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Citation Edit

Patentwizard, Inc. v. Kinko's, Inc., 163 F.Supp.3d 1069 (D.S.D. 2001) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

Plaintiffs claimed that they were defamed in a chat room by an unknown third party, who was using a computer rented from Kinko's, a commercial copy store. Kinko's did not keep a record of the identities of the persons who rent its computers, and did not give a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address to each of its rented computers.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

The plaintiffs brought six claims against Kinko's: (1) negligent failure to monitor its computer network; (2) negligent failure to maintain proper and adequate records; (3) negligent spoliation of evidence; (4) intentional spoliation of evidence; (5) aiding and abetting defamation; and (6) aiding and abetting interference with prospective business relationships. Kinko's moved moved to dismiss all of these claims

The court held that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA) immunized Kinko's from liability for the allegedly defamatory statements made in the chat room by a customer using a computer rented from Kinko's. The court found that Kinko's qualified as an "interactive computer service" under the CDA and as such was shielded from liability for any defamatory statements made by third parties on its network.

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