Yahoo, Google Sued For Trademark Infringement For Blogs And Mail Groups

from the would-you-like-to-rethink-this-lawsuit? dept

There really ought to be a term for suing a big company that has absolutely nothing to do with the dispute at hand, just because they have a lot of money. Whenever I hear about such cases they remind me of an old Bloom County comic, where the lawyer character, Steve Dallas, tries to figure out who to sue after the actor Sean Penn beats him up for snapping his photo. In the end, he decides to sue Nikon, the camera maker, for not putting a warning on the cameras… and because it’s a big company with lots of money. These “Steve Dallas” cases seem to be hitting Google all too frequently these days. The latest involves the International Information Systems Security Certifications Consortium (“ISC2”), who offers “Certified Information Systems Security Professional,” or “CISSP” designations for security professionals. The organization is suing a guy who was, at one time, CISSP certified, but lost it. Rather than just lie about still being certified, the guy started describing himself as a Chief Information Security Systems Practitioner, which just so happens to spell out CISSP. That seems like a pretty clear trademark problem. However, the organization is then also suing both Google and Yahoo, claiming that both are guilty of trademark infringement because Google had some blogs with CISSP in the name and Yahoo had some YahooGroups with CISSP in the name. Unless those groups or blogs are representing themselves as being officially connected to ISC2 or the CISSP program, it’s hard to see what the problem is. In fact, it seems clear that a few of the groups are to criticize CISSP, which should be perfectly legal (suggesting that ISC2 is simply trying to silence critics). As Eric Goldman notes in the link above, it’s hard to believe that ISC2 stands much of a chance in these lawsuits, but why let that stop you? In the world of Steve Dallas, you always sue the big companies.

Filed Under: ,
Companies: google, yahoo

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Yahoo, Google Sued For Trademark Infringement For Blogs And Mail Groups”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Pulse says:


I can’t believe how sue happy everyone is. Seems like if you say the word coke you have to pay copyright fees because you didn’t ask coke if you could say the word or something. It’s like people just want to own everything and always make a buck or two if someone chooses to use it even if it has no direct relation to it… It really just pisses me off a lot.

Badger says:

Dig deeper...

The whereabouts of the alleged offender are currently unknown and thus he cannot be served directly- so in an attempt so cover their responsibility to protect their trademark ISC2 is adding Yahoo and Google to the action.
I’m not saying I agree with that tactic or that I think they have a snowball’s chance- but I am saying a little investigation into the circumstances and the screwed up nature of trademark law makes it easy to understand how things like this happen.

embarrassed says:


And to think I took the exam (better not type the letters here) back in mid-October. Oh, and I’m still awaiting the results… Rumor control has it that a planned system upgrade went bad and the controls they require their certified people to practice weren’t in place there… So anybody who took the exam after mid-October is still waiting for their scores. Go check it out.

Makes you wonder how other cert exams can give you instant scores?

I may let mine expire. The more I hear, the more I don’t like this group.

Anonymous Coward says:

Based on the court documents it appears that the person who posted the infringing material has disappeared. I do know that Google & Yahoo won’t take anything down without a court order, and you can’t get a court order without a defendant. Thus, the proper tactic would be to sue the web hosts. It’s important to remember that just because they are suing Google & Yahoo, it doesn’t mean they are looking for money. As a matter of fact, looking at what they have filed with the court, they aren’t asking for money from Google or Yahoo, just a court order to remove the material. There is plenty of legal precedence for this, including one against Google. See Perfect 10 v Google (contributory copyright infringement by not removing material from search engine when material is known to infringe) and Gucci America v. Hall and Associates (ISP held liable for contributory infringement of trademarks when refusing to take down).

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...