Justia Communications Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Commercial Law
Stayart v. Google Inc.
Plaintiff, an active genealogist and animal rights activist, claimed that her name had commercial value and that search engines generated revenue as a result of internet searches of her name. She specifically alleges that various features of Google’s search engine violate her right of publicity by using her name to trigger sponsored links, ads, and related searches to medications, including Levitra, Cialis, and Viagra, all of which are trademarks of nationally advertised oral treatments for male erectile dysfunction. The district court dismissed her suit alleging common law misappropriation and violation of the state right-of-privacy law, Wis. Stat. 995.50(2)(b). The Seventh Circuit affirmed, citing the public interest and incidental use exceptions. View "Stayart v. Google Inc." on Justia Law
Fed. Trade Comm’n v. Trudeau
Defendant, an "infomercialist," violated a court-approved settlement with the FTC by misrepresenting the content of his book, The Weight Loss Cure They Don't Want You to Know About. The district court held him in contempt, ordered him to pay $37.6 million to the FTC, and banned him from making infomercials for three years. The Seventh Circuit vacated the sanctions. On remand, the district court reinstated the $37.6 million remedial fine, explaining that it reached that figure by multiplying the price of the book by the 800-number orders, plus the cost of shipping, less returns, and instructing the FTC to distribute the funds to those who bought the book using the 800-number. Any remainder was to be returned to defendant. The district court also imposed a coercive sanction, a $2 million performance bond, effective for at least five years. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. The district court order, the performance bond in particular, does not violate the First Amendment. View "Fed. Trade Comm'n v. Trudeau" on Justia Law