South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Web Site Critical of Business Violated No Law
Description Appeals court held that a domain name and website obtained by a consumer angry at a business, and used to explain why the consumer was angry at the business, did not violate the law against cybersquatting. There was no effort to profit from the site.
Topic Cyberlaw
Key Words Cybersquatting; Domain Name; Web Site
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Grosse hired Lucas Nursery to do some landscape work for her. Grosse claimed the work was not good and complained to Lucas and to the Better Business Bureau. Getting no satisfaction, Grosse registered the domain name for the sole purpose of posting information on it to tell what a poor job Lucas had done and that she paid another company $5,400 to correct the problems. Lucas sued, contending that Grosse was in violation of the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) by using the domain name. The district court dismissed the case. Lucas appealed.

Affirmed. The ACPA required bad faith for the statute to be violated. That was absent in this case. The domain name was properly registered. Lucas lacked a website, so the purpose of the website established by Grosse was not to divert customers away from Lucas to a competitor. The information on the site was informative and made its purpose clear. The site contained no misleading contact information and Grosse did not offer to sell the site to Lucas in an effort to profit from it.

Citation Lucas Nursery and Landscaping v. Grosse, 359 F.3d 806 (6th Cir., 2004)

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