Utah Tries To Ban Keyword Advertising On Trademarked Terms

from the bad-ideas dept

For many years, companies have tried suing either Google or various competitors over keyword advertising on their trademarks. Say Coca-Cola decided to buy an ad based on the word "Pepsi." There shouldn't be anything wrong with that. The ads are clearly advertisements, and there's nothing illegal with advertising your product in places where people are looking for info about competitors. Lately, it appears that judges have figured out how to rule properly in these cases -- recognizing that trademarks don't give the holder full control over the trademarked term, but are merely to prevent consumer confusion (i.e., Coca-Cola pretending to be Pepsi). However, it appears that the loser in one of these cases has convinced the Utah legislature that this is a big problem -- and now there's actually a law in Utah that bans the buying of trademarked terms in keyword advertising. Even Utah's own General Counsel warned the legislature that the law was unconstitutional, but they went ahead and approved it anyway. As the EFF notes, it's likely the law will be challenged and thrown out, but it will cost Utah taxpayer money to defend it in court.

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  1. identicon
    Dissillusioned in Utah, 3 Apr 2007 @ 9:14pm

    Par For The Course

    This isn't the first time Utah's wasted money passing a law that was clearly unconsitutional, and it's not the only one they have considered this year. Some examples:

    HB148 (aka the “abandon a sinking ship incentive program”) would allow parents to spend public money on private school tuition. This despite (or because of) the fact that Utah is dead last in public school funding in the nation.

    HB104 Would make all “gambling-like activities” illegal in bars and pubs, even if no actual gambling takes place. Church fund raisers however, would be exempt. This bill sends a clear message, if you want to play cards or bingo in Utah, get ye to the house of god.

    HB236 Is aimed at eliminating gay-straight alliance clubs in high schools. It would reject clubs deemed to violate the “moral well-being” of students or that “involve human sexuality”.

    HB202 The “Ritalin bill” would make it illegal for teachers to require a student to take “psychotropic” drugs, or remove a child from parental custody for failure to take said drugs. As far as anyone knows, this has never happened, and is already forbidden by school district rules. But that is not enough to satisfy sponsors of the bill that their children will not tied to a desk and forced to drop R, then stolen by the courts to be raised by their god-hating, drug-taking, gay-loving, gambling-addicted, videogame-playing educators.

    In 2005, they tried to pass an internet content law that was clearly unconstitutional.

    About every other year, they try to pass another abortion bill that they will have to defend all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Trust me, the idiocy of the Utah State Legislature knows NO bounds!

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