On Friday, Bill Nye Productions, Inc. filed a trademark infringement lawsuit and temporary restraining order with the Northern District of Illinois against numerous domain names linked to fully interactive websites selling and importing Bill products. Nye counterfeits.
According to the complaint, William Stafford Nye, popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American mechanical engineer, science communicator, television presenter and CEO of the leading non-profit space advocacy organization, the Planetary Society. In addition, Bill Nye Productions owns and manages the licensing, sales and marketing of Bill Nye branded products including books, t-shirts, sweatshirts and other clothing items.
Plaintiff represents that he holds federally registered trademarks for “The Science Guy” and holds common law trademark rights to the Bill Nye name and mark. Furthermore, he argues that he has spent significant resources to protect and display the marks, which has made the marks widely recognized and globally known.
The Complaint alleges that the Defendants created numerous online stores and designed them to appear to sell genuine products offered and sold by Bill Nye Productions while in fact selling inferior imitations. Plaintiff argues that these e-commerce stores are selling unauthorized and unlicensed products and infringing Plaintiff’s trademarks to trade on Bill Nye’s reputation and goodwill.
The complaint claims that the defendants’ websites are expected to receive tens of millions of visits per year and generate more than $135 billion in annual online sales. Further, it states that the defendants illegitimately optimized their Internet stores by using search engine optimization and social media spam to mislead consumers into believing that their products are authorized by the plaintiff. Further, Plaintiff states that Defendants concealed both their identity and the extent of their forgery operation to avoid liability.
Accordingly, plaintiff filed a complaint alleging infringement and trademark infringement, misrepresentation of origin, violation of the Illinois Uniform Deceptive Marketing Practices Act, and common law trademark infringement and claim a permanent injunction, restitution of profits, damages, costs and attorneys’ fees. In addition to the complaint, plaintiff filed a motion for a temporary restraining order including a temporary injunction, transfer of defendants’ domain names, temporary restriction of assets, expedited discovery and service of process by email and /or electronic publication.
The plaintiff is represented by Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd