As we’ve previously reported (third item), last August, Jones Day sued a small real estate Web site called BlockShopper after the site, which tracks real estate sales and purchases, linked to the Jones Day bios of two associates who bought condos in Chicago neighborhoods. Jones Day said it was concerned that the links created the impression that BlockShopper was affiliated with the firm. It alleged service mark infringement, service mark dilution, false designation of origin, and deceptive trade practices.
After Chicago federal district court judge John Darrah allowed Jones Day’s suit to move forward, BlockShopper’s counsel, James Klenk of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, didn’t exactly try to hide his contempt for the law firm’s theory. “I think what Jones Day is doing is wrong,” he told us at the time. “It’s an abuse of the legal process.”
The case settled this week, and it’s still not very clear from the settlement agreement what Jones Day, represented by its own lawyers, accomplished through the litigation.
Under the agreement, BlockShopper will continue to be able to link to Jones Day sites, but instead of using embedded links, BlockShopper will have to include the Web address in the text. In its report on the settlement, the Cleveland Plain Dealer provides a helpful explanation using the name of the Jones Day associate at the heart of the suit: “[Instead] of writing ‘ Daniel P. Malone, Jr., is an associate in the Chicago office of Jones Day,’ BlockShopper must write ‘Malone (www.jonesday.com/dpmalone) is an associate . . .’”
Klenk told us the hair-splitting distinction is “a small concession to avoid the silliness” of the litigation. “Deep linking was what the case was about, and we continue to deep link,” he said.
A Jones Day spokesperson did not immediately return our phone call.