A consent judgment in a trademark infringement action over the mark “EZ Moving/Moving and Storage” (versus Defendant’s “Quick and Easy Moving”) provided that defendant would “remove all internet postings, websites, email addresses, advertisements, online business listings, YouTube accounts, Twitter accounts, and any other online material associated with Defendant.” TDC Int’l v. Burnham, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116741 (E.D. Mich; Nov. 2, 2010). Plaintiff moved for contempt when Defendant failed to remove instances of his infringing marketing from Yelp.com and Squidoo.com.
Despite Defendant’s argument that it was required to do the impossible (as any party who has ever tried to get Yelp to remove a listing would know), the court held Defendant in contempt, finding that he failed to take reasonable steps to have that content removed, and ordering Defendant to:
contact the entities that maintain the sites [Squidoo.com and Yelp.com] and request that they be removed pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Consent Judgment, and Injunction. . . . . This includes requesting sites remove keywords that Defendant would be prohibited from placing on the sites. This is no small undertaking, but is required by the Injunction.
Trademark issues in the area of cyberlaw take on a myriad of unpredictable facets. Where an injunction against traditional trademark infringement can be easily honored by ceasing and desisting the infringing marketing, anything brought into the internet realm, as this case shows, takes on a life of its own. Defendants will be hard-pressed to stop their own infringement once it has been crawled and cached and independently reposted by a variety of independent entities.
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