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. Easy Hoss - there IS another side to the story . .

    People who own a trademark or hope to own one will love this new law. People who want to carjack someone else's trademark investment will hate it.

    Utah is a tech-savvy, business-friendly state. We have a balanced budget and are consistently recognized as being the best financially managed state in the nation. We use more computers per capita than anywhere else in the nation. It’s a nice place to live and a great place to do business.

    This trademark law will make it even more so.

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