Spring, TX asked in Consumer Law and Copyright for Texas

Q: how do you sum up the case of Zippo Mfg. Co. v. Zippo Dot Com, Inc.,

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • San Francisco, CA

A: To my best understanding of the case, Zippo Manufacturing Company sued Zippo Dot Com, Inc. for copyright infringement. Zippo manufacturers lighters, and Zippo Dot Com operated a website that sold a variety of lighter-related products, including cases, flints, and wicks. In its complaint, Zippo Manufacturing argued that the use of its trademarks on the website was likely to cause confusion among consumers. The district court agreed and issued a preliminary injunction requiring Zippo Dot Com to stop using the trademarks in question. However, on appeal, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court's decision, holding that there was no likelihood of confusion because consumers would not mistake the website for the manufacturer of the lighters. As a result, the court ruled that Zippo Dot Com could continue to use the trademarks in question. Please do not rely on this as it is not legal advice and the law could change or be subject to appeal, etc. Attorney Steve®

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