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Designer Skin LLC v. S & L Vitamins, Inc., et al.
Unauthorized internet reseller of plaintiff’s products is not guilty of trademark infringement, and does not cause actionable initial interest confusion, by using plaintiff’s trademarks in meta tags of website at which plaintiff’s and its competitors’ products are sold, and in...

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Lockheed Martin Corporation v. Network Solutions, Inc.

Case No. CV 96-7438 DDP (C.D. Cal. March 19, 1997)

In this case, the California District Court held that registrants of domain names are not necessary parties in suit by service mark holder alleging that NSI, by, inter alia, permitting registration of allegedly infringing domain names, committed contributory service mark infringement. Plaintiff Lockheed owned the federally registered "Skunk Works" service mark. When it ascertained that "skunk works" and variations thereof had been registered by third parties as domain names with defendant Network Solutions, Inc. ("NSI"), Lockheed sought to have NSI cease registering such names. When NSI advised Lockheed to proceed with its challenges to domain name registration in accordance with NSI's domain name dispute resolution policy of September 9, 1996, Lockheed commenced suit against NSI alleging contributory service mark infringement, unfair competition and dilution. NSI moved to dismiss, arguing that Lockheed had failed to join necessary parties -- namely those who had sought to have NSI register the domain names. In denying the motion, the "court h[e]ld that the Skunk works type registrants are not necessary parties under FRCP Rule 19(a) and therefore are not indispensable parties under Rule 19(b)." The court based this holding on its determination that a joint tortfeasor is not a necessary party to an action against another party with like liability. For those interested in pursuing this course, the following passage of the court's decision should be noted. "Lockheed's complaint appears to assert, at least in part, that NSI is liable under the Lanham Act simply for registering skunk works type domain names. However, it seems unlikely that such conduct would violate the Lanham Act."

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