Is Buying A Google Ad On Your Competitors' Name A Privacy Violation?

from the only-in-the-world-of-lawyers dept

We've seen tons of lawsuits from companies upset that their competitors were buying ads on their trademarked brand names. Obviously, these tend to be trademark disputes, and the suing companies rarely prevails, since most courts seem to realize that buying ads on competitor trademark keywords is perfectly legal, so long as the ad isn't confusing. But, sometimes the arguments get quite bizarre. JJ sent over an article about two personal injury law firms in a legal fight over Google advertising -- but the (initial) twist here is that the one firm is claiming that it's a violation of Wisconsin state privacy laws to buy keywords based on the names of the partners in the firm. It's difficult to see who's privacy is being violated here. And, of course, to make the case a bit more exciting, the defendants surprised everyone in court by doing a search on YellowPages.com for their own law firm -- and having an ad for the plaintiff show up. So, now the defendants are claiming that the plaintiffs have "unclean hands," since they appear to be doing the exact same thing they've accused the defendants of doing. It sounds like quite a trial...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:30am

    Sure, why not...

    In a world filled with so many outrageously stupid ideas, what's one more stupid idea on the pile?

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:26am

    Look, its like this - when we do it, its sex, when you do it, its rape

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:34am

    Who cares?

    Only paranoid assholes would do that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:36am

    But if you want to buy webspace on my new website, MikeDirt.Com, I won't stop you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Unclean Hands, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 5:05am

    Wow, that is cheesy

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:00am

    Laches

    > the defendants surprised everyone in court by
    > doing a search on YellowPages.com for their own
    > law firm -- and having an ad for the plaintiff
    > show up.

    I'd love to watch the plaintiff's lawyers try and spin that one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 11:01am

    I love the smell of litigation in the morning!

    Is there anything better than one law firm suing another? Way to tie up the court system for your pissing match!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    ike, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 12:17pm

    Interesting Argument

    Interesting! Buying ad words for your competitor's names gives you an indication as to how many people are searching for the name of your competitor. Knowing the relative popularity of your competitors could be useful information. You might also be able to get the IP addresses of the searchers (although maybe not with Google's service).

    Is that worth suing over? Of course not.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers"

    William Shakespeare, King Henry VI Part 2 - Act IV, Scene II (Dick the butcher)

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Jake, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:32pm

    I suppose it depends how you use the keyword, but if their names aren't publically associated with the company in some way -in the name under which they trade, on the 'About Us' page on the website and so forth- then I could see it being a technical violation.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Glenn, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 7:59am

    TV?

    Sounds like an episode of some TV show about lawyers... one of the mostly comedy ones (which I won't mention here--don't want to be sued :D).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    auto repair, Sep 17th, 2010 @ 1:44pm

    auto repair

    Well, i'm at least happy to hear that the lawsuits typically don't accomplish anything. This is a case where common sense and wise/ethical business tactics should come into play.

     

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  13.  
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    Josh, Oct 11th, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    I think that it is

    I really do feel that if you are using your competition's name in your ad and that is how people are finding you then maybe it is not the best idea to try and add business by going that route. I think that really isnt going to get you the best ROI or really good name to go with your company. For sure try and think of a different route the next time you decide to promote your business online. www.theaterspecialtieslv.com

     

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  14.  
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    Ginny Crandall, Oct 11th, 2010 @ 1:42pm

    nice

    Now this is kind of funny. I've never thought of anyone buying the keywords that would lead to someone else, and using them against them, but I suppose it is possible. It makes me laugh, though, that's for sure.

     

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  15.  
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    tow, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:31am

    Who cares a different route the next time

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    George, Dec 16th, 2012 @ 9:40pm

    hm...

    the answer: yes, would do the same.

     

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  17.  
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    Max, May 1st, 2013 @ 4:40am

    best ROI or really good name to go with your company

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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