Parody Website Spoofing Chick-fil-A Controversy Fights for Domain Name Rights

The owners of chickfilafoundation.com, a parody website, have retained the domain dispute law firm Lewis & Lin, LLC in New York to defend against Chick-fil-A’s allegations of trademark infringement.

Brooklyn, New York (September 18, 2012) – Jason Selvig and Davram Stiefler, two Brooklyn-based comedians and political commentators, have retained the New York domain dispute law firm Lewis & Lin, LLC to defend against allegations that the domain name of their parody website infringes on the “Chick-Fil-A” trademark held by CFA Properties, Inc.  Chick-fil-A, a nationwide fast food chain, filed a complaint last month with the World Intellectual Property Organization against the site owners, claiming that the website’s domain name, chickfilafoundation.com, is confusingly similar to the Chick-Fil-A trademark, and was registered and used in bad faith.  Selvig and Stiefler contest these charges.

According to David Lin, domain dispute attorney and lead counsel for the respondents, the domain name is perfectly legitimate. “Part of the point of parody websites is to lead readers to briefly believe that the website is perhaps coming from the company, and then realize that the message is a larger criticism and social commentary,” says Lin. “While trademark law protects corporations from infringement, corporations can’t use trademark law to squelch criticism made through parody and satire, which is what is occurring in this case. 

Chickfilafoundation.com is a website featuring satirical videos, parodies and written content intended to critique the recent controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s stated opposition to gay marriage.  The site features three characters named Robert, John, and Harvey the Cow. These characters, on behalf of the fictional “Chick-Fil-A Foundation,” offer tongue-in-cheek advice purporting to promote “family values” and encourage the renunciation of homosexuality, including through the offer to trade one’s homosexuality for a chicken sandwich.  “There can be no question that the website is meant to criticize the Chick-Fil-A president’s stance on the legitimacy of gay marriage. The domain name is part of that commentary,” says Lin. “Large corporations cannot be allowed to use trademark law as a sword to silence criticism of their company.”

About Lewis & Lin: 

Lewis & Lin, LLC is an Internet and Intellectual Property law firm based in Brooklyn, New York. The firm’s highly experienced legal team has helped clients worldwide secure their IP rights, as well as anticipate and resolve a diverse range of IP issues. Lewis & Lin’s particular expertise lies in Internet transactions and disputes, including domain name licensing and sale agreements, domain name hijacking claims, Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) disputes, and Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) litigation. The team also expertly handles licensing agreements, website user agreements, service agreements and privacy policies, as well as Internet-related trademark and copyright litigation. For further information, visit www.ilawco.com.

 

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