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Ronald David Coleman

Ronald Coleman’s Legal Cases

34 total

  • Devere Group GMBH v. Opinion Corp. et al.

    Practice Area:
    Intellectual Property
    Outcome:
    Complaint dismissed per FRCP 12(b)(6)
    Description:
    DeVere is an international financial consulting company that alleged rights in various deVere names. Opinion runs PissedConsumer.com, which provides a forum for, you guessed it. It advertises itself as a “premier consumer advocacy group,” and as a review website which allows consumers to “make better choices” and provides an “empowering” and “unbiased” view of companies and products. Complaints about deVere are on deveregroup.pissedconsumer.com, which describes the company then has a section labeled “Devere Group Complaints and Reviews.” Review headings include “Devere stole my pension” and “Devere Lies Conmen–Fraudsters.” Google returns the deVere subdomain among the top results for searches for “deVere” or “deVere Group,” allegedly because of Opinion’s SEO techniques. DeVere sued for trademark infringement for the use in text and in the subdomain. Though deVere plausibly alleged that it had a valid mark, it couldn’t plausibly allege likely confusion, even initial interest confusion. Several factors weighed against deVere’s claim. First, the parties didn’t compete nor were they likely to bridge the gap. Second, deVere failed to allege actual confusion. Third, deVere failed to allege bad faith intent to confuse. More to the point, courts have “consistently” held gripe sites unlikely to confuse because they convey critical messages. “[T]here is no likelihood that a consumer visiting PissedConsumer.com would mistakenly believe that deVere sponsored or approved the contents of that website. The term ‘pissed’ in the website name is clearly negative, as is the commentary on the website about deVere's services--terms like ‘stole,’ ‘WARNING,’ ‘fraudsters,’ and ‘scams’ figure prominently.” Confusion was simply not credible. Initial interest confusion provided no help either. Given the ease of retracing one’s steps online, initial interest confusion requires intentional deception. In any event, defendant didn’t divert consumers from deVere’s website because deVere didn’t have a competing website. PissedConsumer is a forum for customer criticism, not a provider of financial services. IIC also requires close competitive proximity. Thus there could be no plausible inference of intentional deception
  • Kimberlin v. National Bloggers Club, et al. (D. Md.)

    Practice Area:
    Internet
    Date:
    Mar 17, 2015
    Outcome:
    Successfully dismissed all but one of over a dozen claims brought against four defendants
    Description:
    Defamation and related claims including conspiracy and RICO brought against bloggers
  • Woodbridge Structured Funding LLC v. Pissed Consumer et al. (N.Y. Sup. Ct. App. Div. 1st. Dept.)

    Practice Area:
    Libel & Slander
    Date:
    Feb 19, 2015
    Outcome:
    The NY Supreme Court, Appellate Division, affirmed the trial court's denial of the petition.
    Description:
    Petition to compel PissedConsumer.com to disclose the identity of the person or persons who posted alleged defamatory statements about the plaintiff on defendant's "gripe site." Resisted on the ground that the plaintiff had not shown entitlement to this information based on the existence of a bona fide legal claim against the person making the post.
  • Roca Labs, Inc. v. Consumer Opinion Corp. (M.D. Fla.)

    Practice Area:
    Litigation
    Date:
    Feb 20, 2015
    Outcome:
    Successfully opposed a motion that is almost always granted -- leave to amend a complaint -- due to plaintiff's abusive conduct.
    Description:
    Lawsuit by manufacturer of weight-loss product seeking to prevent consumers from publishing comments about its merchandise.
  • North Jersey Media Group v. SarahPAC, et al. (S.D.N.Y.)

    Practice Area:
    Copyright Infringement
    Date:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Outcome:
    Successfully moved to have the case, brought by a NJ company against a Virginia PAC and an Alaska citizen, transferred out of NYC -- the location only of the plaintiff's law firm
    Description:
    Copyright and trademark "trolling" claim by newspaper that owns famous 9/11 photograph brought against former governor of Alaska for use of a thumbnail version of the picture on a Facebook post for one day
  • Heritage of Pride v. Matinee NYC, Inc. (S.D.N.Y.)

    Practice Area:
    Trademark Infringement
    Date:
    Jul 23, 2014
    Outcome:
    The case was settled on very reasonable, confidential terms.
    Description:
    Representing social event promoters in dispute over ownership of alleged "NYC PRIDE" trademark. In resisting application for preliminary injunction against the top-ranked IP law firm in the country, succeeded in demonstrating that the plaintiff did not have a likelihood of succes on the merits on its trademark claim, although the court did ultimately enter an injunction under New York's broad "misappropriation" law. A subsequent attempt by plaintiff's firm to "double down" on its slim victory by seeking sanctions against our clients was summarily denied by the court.
  • Boarding School Review v. Delta Career Education Corp. (S.D.N.Y.)

    Practice Area:
    Trademark Infringement
    Date:
    Mar 29, 2013
    Outcome:
    The court dismissed the majority of the counterclaims against our client. The case settled.
    Description:
    Plaintiff operates a website called Community College Review. It received multiple cease and desist letters, which escalated in the severity of their threats, from counsel for certain institutions about which routine, publicly-available data was reported on the website. The claims sounded in copyright and trademark. Our client filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination of non-infringement on various grounds, and the defendants filed mirror-image counterclaims.
  • In re Simon Shiao Tam (T.T.A.B.; C.A.F.C.)

    Practice Area:
    Trademark Application
    Date:
    Apr 21, 2014
    Outcome:
    Pending appeal in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    Description:
    Appeal of the USPTO's refusal to issue a trademark to an Asian-American rock band called The Slants for the name of their band on the ground that the words are "derogatory"
  • Sigler Companies v. TSDC, LLC

    Practice Area:
    Trademark Infringement
    Date:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Outcome:
    Following our successful defense of opposer's summary judgment motion, the opposition was withdrawn and the mark was ultimately allowed registration.
    Description:
    Represented applicant in in successful TTAB opposition proceeding concerning the trademark FIGHT LIKE A GIRL.
  • Devere Group GMBH v. Opinion Corp et al. (E.D.N.Y.)

    Practice Area:
    Internet
    Date:
    Jul 13, 2012
    Outcome:
    Dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6)
    Description:
    Order dismissing, for failure to state a claim under Fed. R. Civ. Defamation claim pleaded as a Lanham Act trademark infringement in attempt to circumvent DMCA section 230.