Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss in “YourLawyer” Trademark Infringement Case

A federal judge in New York has rejected a defendant’s motion to dismiss a trademark infringement lawsuit filed by <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/">Parker Waichman Alonso LLP. Parker Waichman is a national law firm that represents victims in mass tort lawsuits. It has offices in New York, New Jersey and Florida.

The lawsuit involves Parker Waichman’s trademark for Yourlawyer. Since 1999, Parker Waichman has used the domain name Yourlawyer.com to market its legal service. The firm also registered both Yourlawer and Yourlawyer.com with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The marks are used in Parker Waichman’s web site, and is included on all business related documents, including letterhead and business cards.

According to Parker Waichman, its web site, www.Yourlawyer.com, receives, on average, about 6,000 visits per day. It has provided the firm with name recognition throughout the country, and facilitated the retention of many of Parker Waichman’s clients.

Orlando Firm, P.C., the defendant to the suit, is a law firm based in Georgia, with an office in New Jersey. Like Parker Waichman, it represents victims in mass tort lawsuits. In February 2007, Orlando registered the domain name Yourlawyer.tv. The domain name opens up the web site www.orlandofirm.com.

Parker Waichman learned of Yourlawyer.tv in early 2009. Parker Waichman submitted a complaint to the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), which determined that the firm was not entitled to relief, even though it found that the Orlando Firm web site was confusingly similar to Parker Waichman’s.

In August 2009, Parker Waichman filed suit in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York alleging trademark infringement and unfair competition on the part of Orlando Firm, P.C. In October of that year, the defendant filed a motion to dismiss on ground of lack of personal jurisdiction.

In an order dated May 14, 2010, U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon denied the motion to dismiss. The judge found that Parker Waichman had made a prima facie case for personal jurisdiction, by showing, among other things, that Orlando Firm conducted business in New York when it made contact with and represented several New York clients in a Georgia lawsuit involving a 2007 peanut butter recall.

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