United wins against passenger rights advocate

MONTREAL — A Montreal passenger rights advocate has lost a legal round in a 20-year-old dispute with United Airlines.

Jeremy Cooperstock said the Federal Court of Canada has ruled that his website Untied.com infringed on the American airline’s trademarks and copyright.

He issued a brief statement Friday saying he strongly disagrees with the ruling and plans to appeal.

“I find it difficult to understand how someone could confuse my parody of Untied Airlines’ conduct against its passengers with the services of an airline,” he said in an email.

Cooperstock said he can’t understand how anyone could think his website, which parodies United’s conduct against its passengers, is a United website.

The airline giant issued a statement Friday saying its pleased with the decision.

“We have always maintained that Mr. Cooperstock should be able to voice his opinions, and our case was to protect United customers and avoid confusion by asking him to not use our intellectual property on his website and related channels,” the airline said in an emailed statement.

United also sued Cooperstock in the Quebec courts in 2012, alleging Untied.com resulted in the protracted harassment of employees by disgruntled passengers.

A lawyer for United testified in a separate action in Quebec Superior Court last year that the airline doesn’t object to Cooperstock’s right to run the website or complain about its performance.

However the airline demanded Cooperstock remove employee contact information he posted on the website.

A posting on Cooperstock’s website said the superior court ruled in favour of United and the province’s appeal court dismissed his challenge of the ruling.

Cooperstock’s fight with the airline began from a string of minor incidents dating back to 1996, after which he set up the website a year later.

The Canadian Press

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