AOL Pays Off Playboy Over Search Trademark Issue

from the still-not-settled dept

A week and a half ago, we wrote about how a court had overturned an earlier ruling for Netscape (now AOL) against Playboy, saying that Playboy couldn’t sue if Netscape sold the search term “Playboy” to competitors of Playboy. Now, rather than fight the legal battle for something that doesn’t really matter to them, AOL has apparently settled (read: paid up) the case out of court. This is too bad, as this sort of case is only going to return to court at some point. Once again, though, I believe Netscape was in the right. To me, keywords are the same as shelf placement in a grocery store. It’s not being used to confuse people, but to entice them. Everyone knows Coca-Cola, so if you want to sell Bob’s Cola, you want to make sure you’re next to Coca-Cola on the shelf. No one is going to confuse you for the other, but someone looking for Coca-Cola may (or may not) notice Bob’s and check it out. It’s not trademark infringement. It’s competition.

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