Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
cissp, trademark

Companies:
google, yahoo



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.

Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Zero, 19 Nov 2007 @ 3:41pm

    new tech lawsuit motto

    "It's worth a try"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pulse, 19 Nov 2007 @ 3:59pm

    WOW!

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2007 @ 4:04pm

    Welcome to the world of lazy slobs. Don't feel like working, not a problem. Just sue someone and say it was your idea first because it uses the same alphabet as yours or make the government support your fat ass. You have to love the free world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Badger, 19 Nov 2007 @ 5:12pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    embarrassed, 19 Nov 2007 @ 5:26pm

    Embarrassed...

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ChurchHatesTucker, 19 Nov 2007 @ 6:18pm

    Oh, frak

    My slashdot ID is an acronym that was my company sign-in ID at the time I signed up. It's composed of my initials and those of the department my server was in. It also happens to be the initials of a rather large organization (and these days, what set of three or four letters isn't?)

    Upside is: I have no money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2007 @ 6:48pm

    Coo-Coo
    Idiot
    Sue-happy
    Shyster
    Pricks

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jim Harper, 19 Nov 2007 @ 6:58pm

    As an attorney . . .

    . . . I can tell you that the term is "deep pockets." The proper defendants (if any) are known as "judgment-proof" - legalese for "broke."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Old Bastard, 19 Nov 2007 @ 10:22pm

    Solution

    If people would seriously just get fucking VIOLENT with these companies. Break windows at corporate HQ's, Put 10.000 autodialers hitting up their 1-800 numbers, hack their websites, and whatever else you need to do to make it COST these fuckin companies a shitload of cash everytime they do somthing like this. It would stop.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2007 @ 11:24am

    Very true

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2007 @ 5:10pm

    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).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Wintermute, 21 Nov 2007 @ 7:12am

    Well, there's an IT certification I won't be pursuing ;)

    'mute

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Snidely, 28 Nov 2007 @ 7:44am

    Acronym

    How about SuBURU? Suing Businesses Unrelated to Real User...it's not even an infringing trademark rip off!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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