Consumer Law & Policy is on the story:

A new entry in the contest for “grossest abuse of trademark law to suppress speech the plaintiff doesn’t like” comes from Chicago, where the giant law firm Jones Day has sued, a web site that reports on real estate purchases in two upscale specific Chicago neighborhoods, as well as in Las Vegas, Palm Beach, and St. Louis.  The defendant’s crime?  In discussing condo purchases by Jones Day associates Dan Malone and Jacob Tiedt here and here, BlockShopper used the name “Jones Day” to identify the employer of each of the two associates, and linked from each associate’s name to Jones Day’s own web site here and here

According to Jones Day, linking to its web site dilutes its trademark and creates a likelihood of confusion.    But that is preposterous.  The link is in connection with a comment on Jones Day; when a trademark is used to comment on the trademark holder, the use reinforces the association with the trademark holder, rather than blurring it, and besides use for commentary is expressly protected as fair use under the Lanham Act as amended in 2006.   Moreover, nobody could visit the BlockShopper web site and think that it is sponsored by or affiliated with Jones Day, even if they follow the links from BlockShopper’s mention of Jones Day associates to Jones Day’s own web site.  That is what web sites do – they link to other web sites (that’s what makes it a “World Wide Web”).   

Indeed, throughout the first paragraph above, I used Jones Day’s name (because I am writing about that firm) and linked to Jones Day’s web site and elsewhere.  Is Public Citizen equally liable for trademark infringement and dilution?   If Jones Day is right here, it is hard to see how the Web could survive.

There’s much more at CL&P. In case you’re wondering, no, it’s not a privacy claim and, yes, Jones Day was able to pressure the website into an agreed-upon TRO.

Shame on you, Jones Day. Let me toast CL&P for bringing light to this abuse in anticipation of you guys paying BlockShopper’s attorney’s fees.