Every few months it seems like we have another lawsuit of this nature, and with different courts coming to totally different conclusions, it's likely that this is going to continue for some time. It's about whether or not it's legal for a company to buy text ads in Google when someone does a search on their competitor's name. As we've said repeatedly, there shouldn't be a trademark violation here. Trademark law is supposed to prevent consumer confusion, such as having someone think they're buying Coca-Cola, only to find out it's really Bob's Cola. Unfortunately, though, many companies seem to believe that trademark law means they have full ownership of their trademarked term, and no one else can use it for anything -- especially if it's a competitor. The courts have gone back and forth on this, with some of them seemingly confused by the real issues at stake. Eric Goldman has written an analysis of the latest such case, where it sounds like the court came to the right conclusions. They found that simply buying an ad based on a competitor's keyword doesn't constitute a trademark violation, as there's not likely to be any customer confusion (however, if the ad itself is written with the trademarked term, that might be a different story). This is the right reasoning, and it's good to see yet another court figure it out. There are still likely to be more suits along these lines, but the more reasonable decisions lawyers can point to, the better.
If you liked this post, you may also be interested in...
- Kansas City Cops Tell Man They'll Kill His Dogs And Destroy His Home If Forced To Obtain A Search Warrant
- Most Big Internet Companies Speak Out For Major Surveillance Reform
- Witness In No Fly List Trial, Who Was Blocked From Flying To The Trial, Shows That DOJ Flat Out Lied In Court
- Feds Insist It Must Be Kept Secret Whether Or Not Plaintiff In No Fly List Trial Is Actually On The No Fly List
- Documents Show LA Sheriff's Department Hired Thieves, Statutory Rapists And Bad Cops