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Louisiana State University is suing one of their own law students.
May 7, 2002 9:25 AM   Subscribe

Louisiana State University is suing one of their own law students. The schools is suing over Douglas Dorhauer's (a second year law students) use of the domain lsulaw.com (cease and desist letter and formal law suit ) . The school is claiming violation of federal and state laws that protect their intellectual property, among other things. They are especially displeased with the unauthorized use of "LSU" (which is owned by the university) in the domain. The school feels that people could become confused over who actually runs the site (despite a disclaimer and the fact that it is a .com and not. edu) and the site could lead to misinformation for students. They seem to have a very shaky case, and he seems to have a fairly strong defense . Legal experts are siding with the student: They do seem to be focusing their complaint incorrectly on commercial uses. He's not offering any services whatsoever." (Marjorie R. Esman, the chairwoman of the New Orleans Bar Association's intellectual property committee.) Won't it be fairly embarrassing for the school if they loose this case. (nytimes article via nextdraft)
posted by m@L (8 comments total)

 
Two links:

http//:www.whitehouse.com (Not safe for work)
http//:www.whitehouse.org (Pretty mucn not safe for work)

If they can get away with it ... good luck in court, LSU!
posted by magullo at 9:50 AM on May 7, 2002


Not as embarassing as saying "loose".

Really, the "com" part is irrelevant -- especially as more suffixes come online, there's no guarantee that any institution won't be using one of them in addition to one that it's formally assigned to like "edu". Trademark law, in particular, doesn't have any case law supporting the idea that a different domain suffix meets the requirements necessary to defend against an infringement claim.

It's true that if he really does limit the site to non-commercial commentary he could prevail, as trademark law is primarily concerned with commercial piggy-backing and only secondarily with trademark dilution.

Though I know the digerati like to slag domain-name lawsuits like this, invariably taking the side of the little guy, the fact is that IP law gives LSU every right to sue and attempt to protect their trademark. And what people really do not seem to ever get is the fact that trademarks can be taken away if they are not properly defended against (see: escalator; aspirin), so the way the law is written, a significant apparent infringement requires a significant legal response. If this guy could show that LSU had permitted several other websites with "lsu" in the name that met the other requirements, and was selectively prosecuting his, LSU could effectively lose control over their trademark.
posted by dhartung at 9:55 AM on May 7, 2002


damn....that should be lose (obviously). my spelling has sucked since i was a child
posted by m@L at 9:58 AM on May 7, 2002


Very well stated dhartung. He can say anything he wants but they may be able to enjoin the use of the domain name.
posted by anathema at 10:05 AM on May 7, 2002


...actually, as I've stated in other threads he can't say anything he wants.
posted by anathema at 10:10 AM on May 7, 2002


Won't it be fairly embarrassing for the school if they loose this case.

Not as embarassing as using the word "loose" when you mean "lose".
posted by Ben Grimm at 10:28 AM on May 7, 2002


Won't it be fairly embarrassing for the school if they loose this case.

Not as embarassing as using the word "loose" when you mean "lose".


Aren't you a little late there Big Boy?
posted by eas98 at 10:55 AM on May 7, 2002


There is a similar case involving my alma mater. This site received a C&D letter from BSU stating similar reasons as the LSU case. There are more links on the www.bsupolice.com site...
posted by internal at 12:00 PM on May 7, 2002


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