EFF Files Suit to Protect Journalist From Legal Intimidation
San Francisco, CA - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced today that it has filed a lawsuit against French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis Group on behalf of Medical Week News, publishers of the medical news website AcompliaReport.com.
EFF's lawsuit comes after Sanofi-Aventis, the world's third largest pharmaceutical company, threatened Medical Week News with legal action based on its use of the word "Acomplia" in its AcompliaReport.com website domain name.
Acomplia is the name of a Sanofi-Aventis drug intended to combat obesity and assist with smoking cessation that has shown promise in clinical trials in the United States and in Europe, and has just been submitted to the US FDA and European regulators for approval.
AcompliaReport.com is an independent online newsletter devoted to reporting news about the drug.
In the lawsuit, filed in US District Court in San Francisco, Medical Week News asserts its fair use right to use the word "Acomplia" in publishing independent news about the drug.
"Reporters, critics, and commentators all need to use trademarks in order to discuss and report on trademarked products and services," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Trademark law has always recognized that as a fair use when books and magazines do it. Publishers should enjoy the same fair use rights on the World Wide Web."
"People find information on the Web by entering the subject that is of interest to them in search engines," said Milton R. Benjamin, Publisher and President of Medical Week News. "People hear the word Acomplia on television and go to the Internet for more information. If we were unable to use the name Acomplia in our website, tens of thousands of people never would find the most comprehensive source of objective news and information about development of this drug."
Mr. Benjamin is a veteran journalist who has served in senior editorial positions at Newsweek and the Washington Post.
The lawsuit asks the court to declare that Medical Week News is entitled to continue to use the word "Acomplia" in the AcompliaReport.com domain name and website.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Publisher and Editor
Medical Week News