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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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CompuServe, Inc. v. Patterson

89 F.3d 1257 (6th Cir. 1996)

In this case, the court held that uploading shareware onto a computer subjects the programmer to jurisdiction where computer located. CompuServe sought a declaratory judgment in Ohio that its product, Compuserve Navigator, did not infringe defendants' trademark in "Windows Navigator." Patterson and his company Flash point Development were Texas residents who had entered into two separate agreements with Ohio based CompuServe. The first, a "user" agreement, granted Patterson access to the CompuServe system. The second, a shareware agreement, permitted defendants to advertise and sell software they designed titled "Windows Navigator" to other CompuServe users. The software was uploaded by defendants from their Texas offices onto a CompuServe computer located in Ohio. A buyer wishing to purchase the software downloaded it from this Ohio computer. CompuServe then billed the buyer for the purchase, who sent his payment to Ohio. From this payment, an agreed percentage was forwarded to defendants in Texas. The Sixth Circuit, reversing the district court, found that by entering into the shareware agreement, and uploading, via electronic links, software on CompuServe's Ohio based computers, defendants had sufficient contacts with Ohio to be subject to jurisdiction there. Said the Court: It is Patterson's relationship with CompuServe as a software provider and marketer that is cru--cial to this case. Patterson chose to transmit his software from Texas to CompuServe's system in Ohio, myriad others gained access to Patterson's software via that system and Patterson advertised and sold his pro-duct through that system. Though all this happened with a distinct paucity of tangible, physical evidence, there can be no doubt that Patterson purpose-fully transacted business in Ohio.

The full text of the decision discussed above can be found on a website maintained by the John Marshall Law School.

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