Update: Judge John Darrah of the Northern District of Illinois denied Blockshoppers’ motion to dismiss Jones Day’s trademark claims. A quick recap: Blockshopper is a website that reports on real estate transactions. In two reports, Blockshopper deeplinked to two bios of Jones Day’s employees. Jones Day then flipped their shit and filed a five-count trademark complaint. In denying the motion, the Court concludes:
It cannot be said, at this pleadings stage, that Jones Day allegations of confusion are implausible.
Bell Atlantic v. Twombly , cited by Judge Darrah, mandates that some level of substantive sufficiency be present in the complaint. For the life of me, I can’t see anything other than conclusory statements in Jones Day’s complaint. Isn’t this exactly the type of discovery avoidance courts were seeking by moving away from the “no set of facts” standard?
Blockshopper is now faced with an expensive discovery process on a claim that will never fly. Under Jones Day’s analysis (and at least somewhat adopted by Judge Darrah), any deeplinking of a trademark would be trademark infringement.
Even though the ultimate decision will likely not be in their favor, in this case, Jones Day has already won. The losers? Free speech in a digital age.
Earlier coverage by the Satyricon here.