On Friday, the Northern District of California granted defendant YouTube’s movement to dismiss a grievance filed by Ripple Labs, an “enterprise blockchain company,” and its CEO Bradley Garlinghouse. The grievance alleged trademark infringement, misappropriation of id and publicity rights and unfair competitors regulation claims towards YouTube and was dismissed with depart to amend.
Initially, the plaintiffs filed a grievance in April towards YouTube for permitting scammers to impersonate their CEO by utilizing their registered emblems and publicly accessible content material of CEO Garlinghouse, together with interviews, in an effort to make it appear like the scammers have been Ripple. The scammers then engaged in a fraudulent scheme involving the plaintiffs’ cryptocurrency known as XRP.
The plaintiffs sued YouTube for allegedly not correctly addressing the rip-off. They asserted contributory trademark infringement pursuant to the Lanham Act, misappropriation of Garlinghouse’s id and his proper of publicity in violation of California regulation, in addition to violations of California’s Unfair Competitors Legislation (UCL) primarily based on the trademark and state regulation allegations. In September, Ripple Labs filed an opposition to YouTube’s movement to dismiss claiming that YouTube contributorily infringed and disregarded takedown notices that the plaintiffs filed.
Particularly, YouTube moved to dismiss “(1) the Lanham Act claim in part on the ground that the plaintiffs did not plausibly plead its knowledge of the trademark infringement, and (2) the state-law claims on the ground that it is immune from liability under § 230 (c)(1) of the Communications Decency Act (CDA)… because it is not a content provider.”
The courtroom famous that the plaintiffs “allegedly notified YouTube of the trademark infringement through takedown notices and allege that YouTube ‘ignored or failed to address many of the[ir] takedown demands.’” Due to this fact, the courtroom said these claims “are about delay in taking down the offending channels (not a failure to do so altogether).” For instance, the plaintiffs argued that YouTube took roughly two months to handle some takedown notices, three weeks, and one week for others. Consequently, the courtroom contended that “[t]he difficulty[,] thus[,] is whether or not the plaintiffs’ allegations about YouTube’s delay in taking down the rip-off and the hijacked channels – which used Ripple’s trademarked content material – plausibly plead a declare for contributory trademark infringement.”
In accordance with the order, “[t]o be liable for contributory trademark infringement, a defendant must have (1) intentionally induced the primary infringer to infringe, or (2) continued to supply an infringing product to an infringer with knowledge that the infringer is mislabeling the particular product supplied.” Nevertheless, the courtroom said that “[u]nder these cases, the plaintiffs have not plausibly pleaded a claim for contributory trademark infringement.” Particularly, the primary allegation that relating to contributory infringement and YouTube’s response to the takedown notices, however the purported misuse of Garlinghouse’s id isn’t a declare of trademark infringement. The courtroom said that the plaintiffs’ “complaint lumps the two categories together. The plaintiffs must identify their complaints of trademark infringement (tethered to a specific YouTube user’s account) and YouTube’s failure to respond or delayed response to the specific complaints. Without a delineation between the two categories, the court cannot evaluate whether YouTube had contemporaneous knowledge of the infringing conduct and continued to supply its services.” Due to this fact, the courtroom can’t fairly infer that YouTube is answerable for this alleged conduct. Furthermore, the courtroom added that the delays, together with every week, a number of weeks, and two months, “are shorter than the delays that courts generally have found actionable.” Moreover, the courtroom said that primarily based on the data, YouTube was not required to preemptively tackle the rip-off. The courtroom said that as a result of the plaintiffs don’t sufficiently differentiate between the notices, they don’t plausibly plead a declare as a result of the courtroom can’t decide if YouTube had constructive information concerning the rip-off.
The courtroom said that YouTube is immune underneath Part 230 of the Communications Decency Act from the state declare, the misappropriation of Garlinghouse’s id and his proper of publicity and the violation of California’s UCL. Furthermore, as a result of there isn’t a federal declare the courtroom doesn’t have supplemental jurisdiction over the state claims.
Ripple Labs is represented by Boies Schiller & Flexner. YouTube is represented by Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.