Jones Day v. BlockShopper LLC

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

08/12/2008

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Illinois

Disposition: 

Settled (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
Founded in 2006, BlockShopper.com is a start-up local online real estate news service covering Chicago, South Florida, Las Vegas, and St. Louis. Its reporting staff is made up of ex-print journalists who collect public real estate sales data, then use... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

BlockShopper LLC; Brian Timpone; Edward Weinhaus

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Illinois

Location of Party: 

  • Illinois

Legal Counsel: 

Martin B. Carroll, Adam A Hachikian, Daniel S. Hefter - Fox, Hefter, Swibel, Levin & Carroll, LLP; James A. Klenk - Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal
Description

Founded in 2006, BlockShopper.com is a start-up local online real estate news service covering Chicago, South Florida, Las Vegas, and St. Louis. Its reporting staff is made up of ex-print journalists who collect public real estate sales data, then use information in the public domain (e.g. company web sites) to write news stories about recent transactions. BlockShopper currently produces upwards of 1,000 stories per month and has produced more than 8,000 since its founding, many of which appear in print newspapers as part of content-sharing partnerships with companies like Tribune. Three of those stories, all on BlockShopper's Chicago web site, reported the real estate transactions of partners and associates from Jones Day, the large international law firm.

Jones Day sued BlockShopper.com on Aug. 12, 2008 in federal court in Illinois. The complaint alleges that Blockshopper.com infringed and diluted the firm's service mark and violated state trademark and unfair competition laws by using the word "Jones Day" when referring to the real estate transactions of Jones Day attorneys, linking to its site and using lawyers’ photos from its site. The firm contends that these activities creates the false impression that Jones Day is affiliated with or sponsors BlockShopper.com.

Jones Day sought a temporary restraining order preventing BlockShopper from writing about its lawyers or linking to its web site. BlockShopper agreed to take down the three stories temporarily, to avoid the expense of arguing both a TRO and then the complaint itself against a large law firm. Its executives say they believe the suit is frivolous and they plan to fully defend themselves. Jones Day told BlockShopper it would drop the case if BlockShopper paid it $10,000 and agreed to never write about its lawyers' real estate transactions again, according to the National Law Journal. BlockShopper declined the offer.

Trial is set for late February 2009.

Update:

09/19/2008 - BlockShopper and individual defendants Timpone and Weinhaus field a motion to dismiss the complaint. Public Citizen, EFF, Public Knowledge, and Citizen Media Law Project moved for permission to file an amici curiae brief in support of BlockShopper's motion.

09/23/2008 - Jones Day filed a memorandum in opposition to Amici's motion for permission to file an amici curiae brief.

09/24/2009 - Amici filed a reply memorandum in support of their motion for permission to file an amici curiae brief.

11/13/08 - The court granted defendants' motion to dismiss the claims against individual defendants Timpone and Weinhaus, but otherwise denied the motion. The court also denied the motion of EFF, Public Citizen, Public Knowledge, and Citizen Media Law Project for permission to file an amici curiae brief.

02/11/09 - According to Alison Grant, a reporter for The Plain Dealer, the parties have settled - the settlement allows BlockShopper to continue linking to the Jones Day site, so long as it does not use embedded links.

02/13/09 - The parties filed a stipulation of dismissal pursuant to the settlement.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Photo
  • Text

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Linking
  • Trademark
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Illinois

Source of Law: 

  • United States
  • Illinois

Court Name: 

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

Court Type: 

Federal

Case Number: 

08 CV 4572

Relevant Documents: 

CMLP Information (Private)

Threat Source: 

User Submission Form

CMLP Notes: 

Updated 2/11/09 - VAF