There have been lots of lawsuits over the concept of buying search ads based on a competitor's trademarked term as the keyword, and more and more courts seem to be realizing that there is nothing wrong with this, so long as the ads themselves are not designed to confuse users. It looks like a court up in Canada has agreed that there's nothing wrong with putting up ads on other's trademarked keywords
, because the likelihood of confusion is minimal. In this case, the plaintiffs found someone who claimed he signed up for a class at the wrong school because of a keyword ad, but that wasn't that believable, as "the registration came after a 90-minute in-person interview and the completion of an admissions test."
The court sided with VCC, concluding that its use of competitor names in its keyword advertising strategy was unlikely to deceive potential students. The judge noted "where a student erroneously chooses to examine a VCC Inc. 'sponsored link' website instead of the website of the institution they originally wanted, I am satisfied the information readily available on the various VCC Inc. websites is more than adequate to inform the student that they are examining a VCC Inc. institution and not the one they were initially searching for."
Always nice to see common sense prevail in court.