The smoking gun evidence in a trademark lawsuit filed in US District Court in Connecticut is allegedly metadata from a YouTube video. Here is the lawsuit. In the lawsuit , Tuscan Leveling, Inc. alleges that Roynette, Inc. stole its trademarked concept for a level tiling process. According to the Complaint:
- Tuscan is an Iowa based business that markets and provides a "unique tile installation method."
- Tuscan’s tiling process is subject to a pending patent and trademark application and has identified the Tuscan Leveling System as its trademark.
- Roynette is a Connecticut based business that markets and solicits over the Internet. Roynette advertised the sale of a competing tile leveling system over the Internet through a YouTube video that was identical to the the Tuscan leveling system.
- The metadata from the YouTube video shows the Tuscan Leveling System trademark in "human readable form." (Note: you can see the readable form in the attachment to the Complaint)
- The metadata would permit Internet consumers to search for Tuscan and end up finding the Roynette video and product. Roynette puts the product it is selling by hyperlink directly adjacent to the Tuscan trademark.
The Complaint seeks damages, attorney’s fees, and an injunction. Roynette has not yet responded to the lawsuit.
Nothing unusual about a YouTube video surfacing as evidence, but this one may be a first, at least in Connecticut. This case is unique because the evidence is not the video itself but the metadata with the video. Metadata is typically described as data about data. YouTube allows you to edit or add metadata to a video. The metadata, descriptions, or titles for the videos can show up in response to search terms on search engines such as Google or even YouTube. The allegation here is that Roynette used Tuscan’s trademark name to attract consumers searching on the Internet for tile leveling.
In this case, it was not only consumers who found Roynette, but it seems they attracted Tuscan too.