Internet Brands get anti-SLAPPed

In response to the spurious lawsuit against ex-Wikitravel volunteers, Wikimedia’s lawyers Cooley LLC have yesterday filed a motion to strike Internet Brands’ charges under California’s SLAPP legislation. Full document attached below, and it’s a really good read (seriously!), but a few select tidbits for your reading pleasure:

The Complaint filed by Plaintiff Internet Brands, Inc (“IB”) is a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“SLAPP”), a meritless action brought not to win, but to intimidate, threaten and ultimately silence persons engaged in speech that IB dislikes but the Constitution protects. …

IB’s claims against Ryan rest – entirely – on allegations that Ryan was involved in sending emails to Wikitravel users concerning the proposal to set up a new travel site allegedly called “Wiki Travel Guide”.  As a reading of these communications shows, to the extent they contain any “use” of a trademark at all, such use is limited to referencing “Wikitravel” by name to distinguish it from a new travel site being planned.  This is known as nominative use, and is permitted by law. …

IB’s state law claims for trademark infringement, state law unfair competition and civil conspiracy can and should be dismissed under California’s anti-SLAPP statute … because they all arise from constitutionally protected speech and IB cannot demonstrate a probability of prevailing on the merits.  …

IB may not survive dismissal by simply reciting the elements of a Lanham Act claim without supporting factual allegations.  … For this reason alone, Count II of the Complaint must be dismissed for failure to state a claim.

Full text: 2012-09-26 D6 Notice of Defendants’ Special Motion to Strike

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