Search results, directory listings are not ‘representations’ under the Lanham Act – Fourth Circuit

Baldino’s Lock & Key Service, Inc. v. Google, Inc.. Unpublished.

A locksmithing company sued Google and others for publishing the names, addresses and phone numbers of unlicensed locksmiths on their websites in order to gain advertising revenue.

The locksmith argued, among other things, that this practice violated the Lanham Act, which creates a private right of action for corporate victims of ‘false or misleading’ descriptions or representations.

The district court granted the Defendants’ motions to dismiss, and the Fourth Circuit affirmed. The court reasoned:

locksmiths who generated the information that appeared on Defendants’ websites are solely responsible for making any faulty or misleading representations or descriptions of fact

Because the unlicensed locksmiths (and not the websites) were responsible for the content, Baldino’s failed to show that the Defendants made any representations. If there was no representation, it couldn’t have been ‘false or misleading.’

Thus, Baldino’s failed to state a claim under the Lanham Act.