Stayart v. Google Inc.

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Civil Court
Case Number: 
No. 11-3012
Decision Date: 
March 6, 2013
Federal District: 
E.D. Wisc.
Dist. Ct. did not err in dismissing for failure to state cause of action plaintiff’s action alleging that defendant’s internet search engines, which began with plaintiff’s name and eventually lead to websites advertising drugs used to treat male erectile dysfunction, violated Wisconsin misappropriation statute. While plaintiff alleged that her name carried significant commercial value, and that defendant used her name without her permission to generate revenue, plaintiff’s lawsuit was subject to legitimate public interest exception where: (1) plaintiff had previously filed similar federal misappropriation lawsuit against Yahoo!; (2) court documents, including plaintiff’s prior lawsuit, are matters within public interest; and (3) relevant search engine inquiries took place after plaintiff had filed prior lawsuit. Ct. further found that defendant’s use of plaintiff’s name was too incidental to support misappropriation claim.