Planned Parenthood v. Bucci case brief summary
a. Planned Parenthood obviously has a TM for its name, but it stupidly registered ppfa.com. Bucci, an abortion opponent, registered plannedparenthood.com, where he posts information about The Cost of Abortion, an anti-abortion text. When you use and look around the website, it is obvious that it isn’t PP’s website, but when it first loads the words “Welcome to Planned Parenthood” pop up first. PP sues for TM infringement.
b. Bucci’s Arguments – Bucci argues that the TM was not used “in commerce.”
c. Court finds TM infringement:
1. In Commerce – Bucci’s use is “in commerce” even though he made no money from operating the website and sold/advertised nothing. Why?
i. Website affects the way in which PP provides informational services, which is “in commerce” – translation, he is affecting PP’s ability and methods for their own commercial transactions.
ii. Commerce b/c internet users use interstate lines to access his page (not so much a good argument, but maybe use it if desperate).
2. Refuted Bucci’s argument that this was a communicative message, protected by 1A.
i. Use of the domain name is not communicative and not protected under 1A. It’s just the source identifier.
d. Court also says that even if it said “this is not Planned Parenthood” when you accessed the site, that it would still be infringing b/c the domain name is confusing and (like in PETA below) the domain name doesn’t convey what is on the website.