*First Trademark Infringement Case Against Fake Twitter Account

I was already wondering when this would happen. I’m a bit late reporting it, but according to Jim Salter of the The Associated Press he story goes like this:

St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is suing the social-networking site Twitter, [the complaint can be accessed >>here<<] claiming an unauthorized page that used his name […] damaged his reputation and caused emotional distress. […] The lawsuit claims that someone created a false account under La Russa’s name and posted updates, known as “tweets,” that gave the false impression that the comments came from La Russa. The suit said the comments were “derogatory and demeaning” and damaged La Russa’s trademark rights. The account bearing La Russa’s name is no longer active. The lawsuit includes a screen shot of three tweets. One posted on April 19 said: “Lost 2 out of 3, but we made it out of Chicago without one drunk driving incident or dead pitcher.

I am wondering if La Russa can really prove that his “trademark rights” got infringed as the fake La Russa account was not selling any products or services. This will make it difficult to prove consumer confusion. I am more of the opinion that maybe his personality rights got infringed, while bearing in mind that the fake account was according to Balasubramani clearly labeled ad a parody and thus should thus be protected by Fair Use  / The First Amendment.

As the parties are apparently  unwilling to settle, let’s  see how the Superior Court of California in San Francisco decides.

If you are interested in this issue you might be interested in Venkat Balasubramani‘s opion on this case.

1 Response to “*First Trademark Infringement Case Against Fake Twitter Account”

  1. 1 David Jacoby 11/08/2009 at 17:28

    You may find this recent article of interest, discussing this case and other related topics:

    Click to access jacoby-roth-law360_0709.pdf

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