Monday, February 18, 2013

Lanham Act standing and "advertising or promotion"

Kaufman, Englett & Lynd, PLLC v. Better Business Bureau of Cent. Florida, Inc., 2013 WL 524931 (M.D. Fla.)

Law firm sued Central Florida BBB, its president, and the Council of BBBs for allegedly publishing disparaging statements about the quality of its services.  The court held that there was no Lanham Act claim because, to be “commercial advertising or promotion,” a statement must be made by someone in commercial competition with the plaintiff, and defendants weren’t.  When plaintiff correctly pointed out that the prudential standing test of Phoenix of Broward etc. supposedly provides for standing for noncompetitors, the court rejoined that Gordon & Breach’s widely adopted test for “commercial advertising and promotion” still isn’t satisfied—which is just another doggone reason that the prudential standing test in most circuits is so misguided, as I’ve noted before.  Anyhow, with the Lanham Act out of the way, and with no personal jurisdiction over the Council of BBBs, the court declined to exercise supplmental jurisdiction over the state-law claims.

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