Trademark Infringement: Do Website References and External Links Violate Intellectual Property Law?

not jones day lawyersMega law firm Jones Day reinforces prior statements that have been made about business attorneys who decide to wade into Internet law. Jones Day is allegedly suing website owners for trademark infringement because the site referred to the law firm without obtain permission and externally linked to the firm’s website.

This is different than another recent case where a law firm sued a competitor for trademark infringement. In the Jones Day case, the defendant is not a competitor – the firm apparently just doesn’t like the context in which it has been referred to on the site, i.e. the defendant posted information about condominiums purchased by two Jones Day lawyers.

While you can never be certain what a judge will do with a particular case, particularly when you’ve got a law firm with deep pockets willing to litigate and associates to grind out the paperwork, you’d think that somewhere along the line First Amendment free speech rights will prevail.

If Jones Day wins this case, it will curtail free speech online. What a pity.

DISCLAIMER: Although I’ve linked to the firm’s website and referenced the term “Jones Day” multiple times, neither I nor my law firm is in any way affiliated with the firm. See U.S. Const. amend. I.

  

One Response to “Trademark Infringement: Do Website References and External Links Violate Intellectual Property Law?”

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  1. alan says:

    The idea that simply linking to a site is trademark infringement is insane. Free speech is sort of a useful thing.