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Panavision International, L.P. v. Toeppen

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
141 F.3d 1316 (1998)


Panavision International, L.P. (Panavision) (plaintiff) owned the Panavision trademark and attempted to register the domain name Panavision.com. However, Dennis Toeppen (defendant) had already registered Panavision.com. Panavision’s counsel sent a letter to Toeppen informing Toeppen that Panavision held a trademark in the name Panavision. The letter also demanded that Toeppen stop using the Panavision.com domain. Toeppen offered to sell the domain name to Panavision. Panavision refused the offer and sued Toeppen, claiming that Toeppen’s use of Panavision.com was an unlawful dilution of Panavision’s trademark. Toeppen argued that a domain name is simply an address used to locate a web page. According to Toeppen, a user who visited Panavision.com and saw no reference to Panavision would not be likely to conclude that the web page was related in any way to Panavision. Thus, Toeppen claimed that his use of Panavision.com could not be considered a dilution of Panavision’s trademark.

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