Court OKs Narrow Use of Competitor Trademarks in Search Ads & Meta Tags

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.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Legal: Trademarks

Sponsored


About The Author: (@CJSherman) is a Founding Editor of SearchEngineLand.com and President of Searchwise LLC, a Boulder Colorado based Web consulting firm. He also programs and co-chairs the Search Marketing Expo - SMX conference series.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn



SearchCap:

Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  

Share

Other ways to share:
 

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • http://thenextbigwebthing.com Dio Bach

    This is encouraging news, but I think there’s still a lot of grey fudge around the issue. Does this mean Google AdWords will now free up all that lovely inventory it’s sitting on due to the trademark issue? We can but hope.

    I can’t see it happening though until the law is clarified and tested a bit further. It’s a step in the right direction though. :)

  • http://mcanerin.blogspot.com Ian McAnerin

    Remember that this is a US ruling, not an international one. This is very much in line with current US and Canadian attitudes of fair dealing with trademarks, but very much at odds with the French and other jurisdictions.

    But if you are restricting your geo-targeting to the US, then this is good news.

    Ian

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest

 
 

Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States

Europe

Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech


Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!

 


 

Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide