Trademark Attorney, Lawyer: Trademark Registration & Trademark Infringement: Keyword Trademark Infringement: The Unauthorized Use of Trademarks as Keywords for Online Advertisements

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Friday, 03 October 2008


Interesting article. We have had a long running battle with Google over this. One thing the article does not mention is the Google service called 'Broad-Matching' where Google has a database which categories trademarks into generic terms so to use your examples above, they would say that Nike and Converse are both sneakers so if you are Converse and use the keyword sneakers, then the adverts for Nike will also show. This is in my opinion fuindamentally wrong because it goes against the whole principle of a trademark. A trademark cannot be defined and it is not in the gift of Google to provide such a definition. One of the only ways a trademark can be revoked or refused is because it is 'descriptive'. Nike is not a sneaker. Nike is Nike. Therefore in my view the broad-matching service means that the advertiser is not culpable (or at least solely) but actually Google is liable. They are selling your property and making a profit from it. Worse, legitimate users of the trademark like resellers are now paying more to bid for the higher ranking because competitors are also using the keyword they have no rights to use. So Google win all round. Notice when you search google for google, you dont see adverts for Yahoo or MSN! I hope one day someone sues. In the UK we dont have class-action but if we did, i would join the suit. It is outrageous. Google exists on stealing others property. If you think about it, who have google the right to index and take a copy of your website which is copyright. And their subsidiary Youtube only is notorious because 90% of the content at the beginning was uploaded TV shows. Google is one big parasite.

Infringement of trademarks in keyword advertising so very common. The goal is to divert customers to a competing web site, often a direct competitor of the trademark or service mark owner. A lawyer who specializes in this niche are can help you send a threat letter to stop infringement, or respond to a threat letter you might receive.

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