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9th Circuit tosses bid from AZ Board of Regents claiming Instagram posts violated trademark law

By Greg Hahne
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Published: Monday, May 16, 2022 - 12:22pm
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The Arizona Board of Regents is not allowed to sue the owner of an Instagram account who posted anonymous messages about COVID parties at Arizona State University. That’s the ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The court rejected arguments from the Regents who claimed anyone who saw the posts would believe they came from the university. 

Instagram posts from 2020 using ASU’s logo and colors claimed COVID-19 was a hoax and promised details on a party, though no specific date or time for it. Other posts from the account portrayed the leadership of the school as Nazis. 

The posts were removed by Instagram. 

The judges said the posts appeared to be expressive work that mocked the policies of the regents and ASU. 

The court took a swat at the regents for filing the suit, saying it improperly attempted to use trademark law to block expression of negative views about the administration. 

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