Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Against Activists Who Spoofed Koch Industries

Sorry, Koch Industries. You lost this one:

A U.S. district court in Utah effectively shut down an effort by Koch Industries, the Kansas-based industrial conglomerate whose namesake brothers are vocal skeptics of global warming, to unmask a group of anonymous climate activists who spoofed the company in a mock press release last December.

The fake statement, posted to a hoax Web site similar to Koch Industries' own, purported to be an awakening of sorts, in which the company admitted the error of its ways on climate change and committed to cease funding of groups seeking to undermine prevailing climate science.

Unamused, Koch sued for a variety of claims, including infringement of trademark, unfair competition and cybersquatting, among others. Koch had also sought to serve subpoenas on the company that hosted the sham website in order to obtain the identities of the activists.

The defendants, represented by the advocacy group Public Citizen, sought to have the subpoenas quashed, the activists' identities protected and the lawsuit -- along with all of its claims -- dismissed.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Dale A. Kimball granted all three requests.

Score one for the little guy.

In case you missed it the first time around, the hoax was pretty great. Although the fake website, Koch-Inc.com, is no longer live, you can read the fake "Koch Industries" press release here. "Based on recent internal evaluations of Koch Industries priorities, the company will be restructuring its support of climate change research and advocacy initiatives and will discontinue contributions to groups whose positions on climate change no longer match those of the company’s leadership, beginning in January 2011," the fake release states. There's also a killer quote from "Charles Koch":

“Koch Industries is proud of its environmental record, as well as its long history of providing trusted goods and services to its customers,” said CEO Charles Koch. “Our top priority has always been to create real, long-term value in society through principled behavior. It is the only way a business can survive and prosper.”

Read more about the story at the Huffington Post.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at May 10, 2011, 5:13am