Some Claims Dismissed in Unique Website Dispute

Vilana copied two of Gregerson’s photographs in various advertisements. Gregerson created websites where he discussed Vilana’s copying of the photographs and made unflattering statements about Vilana. Gregerson filed suit for copyright infringement, while Vilana filed a counterclaim for trademark infringement, cybersquatting, deceptive trade practices, and other claims.

The court easily granted summary judgment on the copyright claim. A comparison of the photographs showed they were identical. The court also granted summary judgment against the trademark and cybersquatting counterclaims, finding that Gregerson just made a descriptive use of Vilana’s trademarks in his metatags.

However, the court refused to grant summary judgment on the deceptive trade practices and related claims. There was evidence in the record that Gregerson made statements that Vilana is a thief, actively engaged in predatory lending, and a member of the Russian mafia. These issues and the damages on the copyright claim must be resolved at trial.

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