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'CertainTeed v. Seattle Roof Brokers': Insert 'Hang Out a Shingle' Joke Here

Roof Michael Atkins at the Seattle Trademark Lawyer blog reported last night on a permanent injunction entered by a federal judge in the Western District of Washington that should teach those nasty roof brokers not to go disparaging asphalt shingles.

What's a "roof broker?" Well, according to the defendant's website, a roof broker is an independent, unbiased third party that will get you the best darn deal available on a new roof. Based on my rather unsophisticated investigation (read: Google), it seems to be a Washington state phenomenon. So I'm glad I don't have to worry about that.

The lawsuit arose because of some less than flattering statements about CertainTeed's roofing materials contained on the Seattle Roof Brokers website. For example:

that CertainTeed’s product “will not be able to pass a resale inspection after 15 to 20 years”; that “one roofing contractor reports submitting over 600 warranty claims to CertainTeed within the last four years”; and CertainTeed’s product “have a history of premature failure.”

CertainTeed didn't quite agree with these assertions, and sued for false advertising and violation of consumer protection laws. And won. The injunction entered by the court on Monday, as Atkins points out, was refreshing in the flexibility it offered to the defendant:

“As to Mr. Garcia’s website (whether at www.seattleroofbrokers.com or any other domain he controls), he has two options. He may, at the top of every page on his website, include a prominent hyperlink (of a font size at least as large as any other font used on the page) to an electronic version of this order. The text of the hyperlink shall include the following statement: ‘Please click here for court order finding that this website contains false statements.’ His website must continue to include these hyperlinks until he removes every false statement that violates this order, at which time he can notify the court that the false statements have been removed. If the court finds that the false statements have been removed, it will permit him to remove the hyperlinks. Alternatively, Mr. Garcia may take his website ‘offline,’ remove the false statements, submit the new website content to the court for approval, and await court approval before placing his website online.”

I like it. Not sure what the compliance deadline was in the order, or if Seattle Roof Brokers will appeal, but as of right now, the site is still up, and with no "Click here to see our lies" links.

Man, if you can't trust someone with "broker" in their name, what is this world coming to?

Posted by Eric Lipman on July 1, 2010 at 11:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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