Arizona State cannot sue anonymous Instagram accounts

The Arizona Board of Regents could not proceed with the lawsuit against the owner of the anonymous Instagram account who posted COVID-19 party content at Arizona State University, which officials argued could be a mistake for public university communications.

The case was shot by a lower court last year, a decision upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday.

The Board of Regents has claimed trademark infringement in filing lawsuits and appeals.

The Instagram account in question, known as asu_covid.parties, has claimed since 2020 that COVID-19 is a hoax. It also promoted a party where the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine – an unproven coronavirus treatment – was supposed to be handed over and the Arizona state leadership compared to the Nazis, according to its coverage. Arizona Daily Star.

A three-judge panel said it was unreasonable to believe such posts would come from ASU.

Officials argued that ASU’s use of the logo and colors could be interpreted as an official post by the university, which led to lawsuits against Instagram owner John Doe and Facebook. Facebook was dropped from the lawsuit after the page was removed and the creator took action.

“Respecting everyone [the Arizona Board of Regents’] Corrections would be futile because of the claims, the unreality of the allegations and the possibility of confusion, ”the judges wrote in their judgment. Only one of Dow’s 18 posts on the Instagram page included the use of the ABR logo and trade dress. That one post contains obscenity and a reasonable consumer would not think that a university would use such language for public purposes. Reviewing their posts as a whole does not change the result, but rather reaffirms it.

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