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GoTo.com announced May 25 that it settled its trademark infringement suit against Walt Disney Co. for using its “Go Network” logo for Disney’s Go Network ( GoTo.com Inc. v. Walt Disney Co., C.D. Cal. No. 99-1674, settled 5/25/00). In the settlement, Disney agreed to pay GoTo.com $21.5 million, to permanently discontinue using the disputed Go Network logo and its current replacement logo, and to drop its counterclaim against GoTo.com. Pasadena, Calif.-based GoTo.com filed suit in February 1999 claiming that the circular green logo with white letters used by Disney’s Internet unit too closely resembled GoTo.com’s logo, which the company began using in December 1997. Disney introduced its logo in January 1999. On Nov. 12, Chief Judge Terry Hatter Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted GoTo.com’s motion for preliminary injunction, prohibiting Disney from using the “Go.com” logo because of its similarity to GoTo.com’s logo. The district court ruled that GoTo.com demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of its claim that Disney’s use of the Go.com design mark for the Go Network caused, and was likely to continue causing, confusion among consumers, and that, as a result of the confusion, GoTo.com would suffer irreparable harm. The preliminary injunction ordered Disney to stop using its Go.com design mark and was to take effect immediately upon GoTo.com’s filing of an injunction bond in the amount of $25,000, which GoTo.com posted on Nov. 15. On the same day, however, Disney asked the court to modify the bond to $20 million and to stay the preliminary injunction. In a ruling Nov. 16, the district court modified the preliminary injunction and granted Disney’s ex parte application in part. Specifically, the new court order allowed Disney to continue using the Go.com design mark that existed as of Nov. 15 on a transitional basis until Jan. 15. However, the order prohibited Disney from using the design mark on the Internet. Disney immediately filed an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which Nov. 18 stayed the district court’s order, pending an expedited appeal. On Jan. 27, 2000, the 9th Circuit lifted the stay and effectively reinstated the preliminary injunction. In March, Hatter warned Disney that it could be held in criminal contempt if it did not remove the logo. In April, Disney’s Go.com began using a logo with large green letters and a yellow arrow. In an April 20 meeting the two sides agreed to try and work out a settlement under the supervision of Judge Dickran Tevrizian. The talks dragged on for a month, and as late as May 24 there were published reports that the talks could fall through before an agreement was reached.

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