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Cable News Network L.P. v. CNNews.com

United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
162 F. Supp. 2d 484 (2001)


Facts

Cable News Network (CNN) (plaintiff) was a television news service that owned and used the trademark CNN. The trademark was registered in the United States and numerous other countries, including China. The mark had been used across all CNN’s networks for many years, and there was no question that the mark was famous. Maya Online Broadband Network (Maya) (defendant) was a Chinese company that registered the domain name cnnews.com. The registry used by Maya was located in Herndon, Virginia. Upon discovering that Maya had registered the cnnews.com domain, CNN notified Maya of its service-mark rights. When Maya rejected CNN’s request that Maya change the domain name, CNN sued Maya in Virginia court. CNN brought an in rem action, claiming that Maya had violated the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA). Maya asserted that because CN was the top-level Internet domain for China, its choice of the domain name cnnews.com was reasonable and not done in bad faith. Additionally, Maya argued that most people in China who accessed cnnews.com likely had never heard of CNN, as they lacked access to CNN’s services. Maya offered statistics reflecting that 99.5% of Maya’s registered users were located within China. Maya moved to dismiss the case on several grounds, including a contention that the court lacked jurisdiction over Maya. Maya argued CNN needed to prove bad faith for a court to have jurisdiction over an ACPA claim, and that the court could only hear the dispute if Maya had minimum contacts with the forum.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Ellis, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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