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
    jon, 3 Apr 2007 @ 2:19pm

    This isn't about mormons

    C'mon, you mention utah and all the sudden it's the gates of hell opening up...

    The mormon church is very protective of their trademarks, and this goes beyond saying something like 'baptists have something mormons do not" that coffee swilling moroni was a trademark infringement and in very poor taste, considering what the statue stands for.

    Now on to Mit Romney, not all utahns or even mormon utahns are going to vote for Mit - but the fact that most will just for the heer fact he's mormon makes me cry...no seriously..it does..

    Maybe this will get companies to leave utah in droves, or set up offices in other cities, or being in more cases (maybe more money for someone) in getting passed this, but it's beyond even the coffee add, seeing as how that wasn't on the web it was a tee shirt.

    But I do remember years ago, that you couldn't say competitors names on TV or Radio, whether or not it was a law or not i don't remember, it may very well have been a mutual respect (I remember it mostly between McDonalds and BurgerKing).

    But I want you to remember, there are non-mormon senators and mayors and other officials here, not just mormon ones...

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