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Patmont Motor Werks v. Gateway Marine

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Citation Edit

Patmont Motor Werks, Inc. v. Gateway Marine, Inc., 1997 WL 811770, 1997 US Dist. LEXIS 20877 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 18, 1997).

Factual Background Edit

The plaintiff, a scooter manufacturer and owner of the “Go-Ped” trademark, sued an unauthorized “Go-Ped” dealer who had used “Go-Ped” as part of the text following the domain name <“www.idiosync.com/goped>, and posted critical comments about plaintiff on the website.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

The court dismissed the trademark claims, holding that the defendant's use of the mark constituted a “nominative fair use,” since the use of the term is reasonably necessary to identify the product, and the reference is only to the extent necessary to identify the type of scooters for sale, and did not imply plaintiff's sponsorship or endorsement:

Nothing in the post-domain path of a URL, indicates a Web site's source of origin, and Patmont has cited no case in which the use of a trademark within a URL's path formed the basis of a trademark violation. * * * Therefore, the fact that the Go-Ped mark appeared in the path of Gateway's Web site's URL . . . does not affect the court's conclusion that the Web site does not imply Patmont's sponsorship and endorsement.

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