Defendant Michael Kremer, dissatisfied with hair restoration services at the Bosley Medical Institute, Inc., created a website (www.BosleyMedical.com; no longer existing) to complain. In 2000, the Institute filed a complaint with the World Intellectual Property Organization over Kremer’s use of an allegedly confusing URL for his site. WIPO ruled for Kremer, finding “legitimate fair use and free speech rights with respect to the use of the Domain Name for a criticism site.” Bosley Medical Group v. Kremer, Case No. D2000-1647 (WIPO Feb. 28, 2001). Then, in Sept. 2001 the company sued over Kremer’s use of its trademark “Bosley Medical” in federal court, and alleged that Kremer was “cybersquatting” (using a famous name as a web site URL in order to sell it to the entity most often associated with that name), which is actionable under Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. S.1125(d). The trial court dismissed all of the Institute’s claims. The Institute appealed, and the appeals court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The appeals court held that while Kremer’s noncommercial use of the trademark as a domain name was not actionable as infringement, but reversed on the cybersquatting claim and on the lower court’s dismissal of claims under state trademark law. In March 2007, the trial court denied Kremer’s motion for summary judgment on the cybersquatting claim and also denied his motion to dismiss the state law claims. 2007 WL 935708 (S.D.Cal. March 17, 2007). In July 2007, the parties settled.
Links and Court Documents:
Appeals court decision: http://www.casp.net/cases/bosley.html