Plain Talk About Competitive Keyword Ads Lawsuits

One of the things that used to drive me crazy back when I did more Trademark law was the brain-dead assertions made robotically, with — it seemed — the best faith in the world, by lawyers for Big Trademark. They not only believed that they “owned” the words in their marks (and often common derivatives) but that anything which led (they would say “stole” or “diverted”) a customer away from their clients’ wares by referring to that word was illegal.

So hats off to Eric Goldman who has the stomach to keep following their antics, and to call these claims what they are: dumb. See Technology & Marketing Law Blog: Yet Another Ruling That Competitive Keyword Ad Lawsuits Are Stupid–Louisiana Pacific v. James Hardie for more of the gory bits.

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One Response to Plain Talk About Competitive Keyword Ads Lawsuits

  1. What’s the situation when people use personal names as keywords? What if the ads are for goods or services with which the individual does not wish to be associated?

    Example: recently in the UK, a retired politician was falsely accused of being a paedophile. He’s now suing those who named him on Twitter (several thousand of them). If someone had bought an ad word such that when you typed his name into a search engine, it pointed to, say, a web site for counselling victims of child abuse, would he have had any redress? What if the link was to something unrelated, for example hats or sheds or dogfood?

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