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A federal judge has ruled that a Georgia man whose satirical Web site likens Wal-Mart to the Holocaust can continue to run the site and sell products from it with anti-Wal-Mart messages.
U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten Sr. in Atlanta reportedly rejected Wal-Mart's claims that Charles Smith's Web site and satirical products violated the company's trademark. The judge said Smith's products qualified as protected noncommercial speech because his goal was to criticize Wal-Mart, not to make a profit from his products.
Smith is a 50-year-old computer storeowner. He said he set up his Walocaust Web site, and later a Wal-Qaeda Web site, because Wal-Mart is "taking over the world." He was also selling t-shirts bearing the message, "I (heart) Walo-caust."
In late 2005 and early 2006, Wal-Mart sent letters demanding that Smith stop. He in turn sued Wal-Mart, seeking to continue marketing his satirical logos and designs, and Wal-Mart countersued.