LFP, the owner of the HUSTLER trademarks, and CafePress, the leader in user-generated commerce announced the amicable resolution of a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Federal Court. LFP alleged that the use of the word “hustler” and other similar words and phrases in images created by users of the CafePress service infringed upon LFP’s trademarks.
In the interest of building a positive relationship with LFP that can benefit its users, CafePress has agreed to remove certain user-generated content from its website. This resolution is a great example of a large rights holder and an internet service provider reaching a non-monetary compromise that balances the rights of a trademark holder with the fair use rights of the users.
LFP filed the lawsuit last year after discovering that users of the CafePress service had created and uploaded images utilizing the word “hustler,” which could have been printed on various types of products, without authorization from LFP. The CafePress platform enables users to upload user-generated content. Users can monetize that content by customizing products, such as T-shirts, stickers, pillows, posters and more, with their content and offer their products for sale.
Moving forward, LFP and CafePress intend to work together to avoid litigating disputes arising from user-generated content and instead work together to find reasonable approaches to addressing arguably objectionable content. This in turn allows for a positive educational process for creators of user generated content while maintaining protection for permissible fair and non-trademark uses.