Keyword Disputes

The infringement of trademarks through the use of keywords is quite common in the area of online advertising. It is possible that your competitors use your company’s name, trademark or service mark as a keyword. Thus, if certain other requirements are met, an actionable infringement case arises. Search engines such as Google have been responsible for intellectual property infringements originated on the use of trademarks as keywords. The action is typified by allowing advertisers to purchase company and product names federally registered as trademarks, and use them in “pay-per-click” campaigns as keywords. Using other’s trademarks in keyword searches facilitates diverting potential customers from their competitors. Frustrated by this advertisement practice, trademark owners began challenging search engine companies with the legality of selling their brand names to their competitors. Most of these lawsuits have focused on intellectual property violations but some torts actions have been filed as well.

The following questions have been addressed in this article:

What protection does Federal registration for trade and service marks ensure the holder?
How a trademark holder may monitor the usage of his protected trademark or commercial phrase in online advertisement?

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