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‘Twittersquatter’ Sued by Company Targeted in Sarcastic Tweets

Posted Jun 14, 2011 6:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A company that buys life insurance policies and resells them to investors has sued a so-called Twittersquatter that used its name in sarcastic posts cheering mass disasters.

Coventry First has filed a John Doe lawsuit against the person writing under the Twitter handle @conventryfirst, report PaidContent.org and Reuters. The complaint, filed in Philadelphia federal court, claims infringement of Coventry First’s trademark and violations of cybersquatting laws.

Only 14 tweets had been posted as of the date of the Paid Content story. They applaud early deaths in veiled criticism of the life settlement industry, which buys and resells life insurance policies to investors who collect at the death of the insured persons. “Horrible weekend,” one tweet reads. “No plane crashes (they make a lot of money), no earthquakes.”

Lawyers question whether Coventry First will succeed. Courts won’t find infringement absent consumer confusion, and some will also require proof of a commercial use by the infringer. Also, the federal cybersquatting law does not appear to apply to Twitter, Seattle Internet lawyer Venkat Balasubramani wrote at Technology & Marketing Law Blog.

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