A U.S. District Court has ruled that the use of keyword-triggered ads and keyword metatags using trademarked terms cannot confuse consumers if the resulting ads/search results don’t display a competitor’s trademarks. This is a narrow ruling and doesn’t give search marketers carte-blanche to use trademarked terms. Rather, it means it’s OK to bid on a trademarked search term that triggers an ad that does not contain the trademark. Similarly, it’s OK to use trademarks in meta tags, as long as the trademarks don’t show up on search result pages.
Eric Goldman over at the Technology and Marketing blog has more details on the case and the ruling in his post Keyword Ads and Metatags Don’t Confuse Consumers–J.G. Wentworth v. Settlement Funding.