HIV Denialist’s Suit Against Blogger Should Be Tossed, Sperlein Says

Aug 18, 2013 6:30 AM PST

SAN FRANCISCO — Adult industry attorney Gill Sperlein filed court papers Friday on behalf of Todd DeShong, a blogger accused of trademark infringement and defamation relating to his criticism of notorious AIDS denialist Clark Baker and his organization the Office of Medical and Scientific Justice (OMSJ). 

Baker believes the pharmaceutical industry promotes faulty HIV tests in order to sell HIV-suppressing drugs; DeShong, meanwhile, believes early HIV testing and treatment saves lives. 

But the importance of accurate testing is well known in the adult entertainment industry, Sperlein said.

According to court documents, Baker first attempted to shut down DeShong’s website by filing a UDRP complaint, accusing DeShong of infringing the trademark “HIV Innocence Group.” 

The UDRP arbitrator disagreed, ruling that OMSJ was actually guilty of reverse domain name high jacking because OMSJ clearly knew DeShong was legitimately using the mark when it filed its complaint, Sperlein said.

Undeterred, Baker and OMSJ sued DeShong in federal court for trademark infringement, defamation, and business disparagement. 

But Sperlein and a team of attorneys came to DeShong’s defense filing two separate motions to dismiss Friday, arguing that the trademark claims should be dismissed because DeShong’s use of the mark was fair use and the defamation related claims should be dismissed because DeShong’s statements were either opinion or factually accurate. 

Sperlein also argued that the claims were brought after the statute of limitations had passed.

DeShong’s pro bono defense team also includes another industry attorney, Gary Krupkin, who serves as local counsel; Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen; and Neal A. Hoffman of the Houston firm Bush & Ramirez.

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