Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick




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
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Apr 2007 @ 1:10pm

    Out product works with [CENSORED] systems.

    So then what happens when someone sells after market parts for someone else's products.

    Say you want to buy a universal remote control for your TV/VCR/Sat/Cable system... Are the manufactures in Utah no longer to print advertise these products are for RCA, Sony, Panasonic, Pioneer televisions...etc, using those names as keywords in their advertisements ???

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