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A recent article by The Intercept showed how US and UK intelligence agencies have been impersonating the servers of companies like Facebook. In November, Der Spiegel noted that agencies created “bogus versions” of sites like Slashdot and LinkedIn to plant malware in targets’ machines. “We are not happy that our intellectual property is being used in that way,” LinkedIn’s general counsel told Wired when asked about the techniques.
If whole-cloth copies of websites were used by competitors or scammers, they’d be—at a minimum—buried in lawsuits. But what, if anything, can companies do against government agencies about such impersonations? Turns out, there are avenues available to those who may be bold enough to use them.
The best course of action for companies subject to impersonation by government snoops that utilized their graphical assets and logos would probably be through federal trademark law, as set forth in the Lanham Act. Unlike copyright infringement suits filed against the government, there are few procedural hurdles to filing a trademark suit, explained Jed Wakefield, an IP lawyer at Fenwick & West.
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