First Amendment challenge survives to regulation of “”

In Gibson v. Texas Department of Insurance, a state regulator sought to prohibit an attorney from using the domain: “”  No. 11-11136 (Oct. 30, 2012). Even assuming the domain name was only commercial speech, the Fifth Circuit reasoned that Texas failed to show that the name was inherently deceptive, and also “made no serious attempt to justify” its regulation as an effort to “prevent misuse of the DWC’s names and symbols.”  Id. at 9-10.  The Court thus reversed and remanded for consideration of the “misuse” issue and to allow Gibson to show that the domain was “ordinary, communicative speech, and not merely . . . commercial speech.”  Its analysis reviewed several cases about trademark issues in the domain name context.  Id. at 8 & n.1.

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