Law Firm's Case Against Blockshopper Allowed To Continue
But in a partial victory for the local real estate news company, the judge, John Darrah of Chicago, said that the lawsuit could only go forward against Blockshopper and not company principals Brian Timpone and Edward Weinhaus.
A written copy of Darrah's order was not available as of Thursday evening, so the reasons for his decision are not clear.
Jones Day brought the lawsuit in August, after Blockshopper published two articles about lawyers Jacob Tiedt and Dan Malone, Jr., who had recently purchased homes in the Chicago area. Those articles used the name "Jones Day" in the headlines and also linked to the associates' profiles on the firm's Web site.
Jones Day argued that these articles violated its trademark because they used the firm's name and linked to the site without authorization. The law firm asserted that the links might mislead people into thinking it was affiliated with the site.
Blockshopper asked for the case to be dismissed, arguing that there was no realistic possibility that consumers would confuse the real estate site with the law firm. The news company also argued that Web publishers don't need the permission of the people or companies they write about to mention their names or link to their Web sites.
"Fortunately for Blockshopper and other news media, Jones Day can no more stop the accurate news reports on www.blockshopper.com than it can stop articles in The Chicago Tribune, www.cnn.com, or any other print or electronic news source," Blockshopper's attorneys argued.
Jones Day had argued against dismissal, saying it was not appropriate at an early stage of the case because all of the facts had not yet come out.
The case drew the attention of digital rights groups including Public Citizen and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who attempted to file friend-of-the-court briefs. Darrah Thursday denied their motion to get involved in the case.