October 9th, 2013|
There was an article posted on Forbes.com back in February that’s just now getting attention in the IP circles. It focused on a Wisconsin case dealing with keyword advertising where one firm bought another firm’s name in their PPC program that ended in a lawsuit. Sound familiar? All too familiar I’m afraid, but there was a twist. The plaintiff in this case did not sue under trademark law or the new theory of unjust enrichment; instead they used a Wisconsin statute concerning “publicity rights”. Publicity rights law protects individuals (names, images, etc.) from being used for commercial purposes with authorization. The plaintiff’s firm name was the last names of the three partners. As we already know, you can develop trademark rights in your last name and use those laws successfully to fend off infringers under certain criteria. Using publicity rights was odd strategy to say the least, and as you might expect, the plaintiff ended up on the losing side of the argument. If the action had been pursued under trademark law, I believe the outcome would have been totally different. (more…)
September 5th, 2013|
In our ongoing attempts to get a straight answer from Google regarding their monitoring of trademarks being used without authorization, our interactive team came across a procedure for filing complaints that also serves as a registration portal for trademarks. Simply put, by registering our trademarks with Google they too will assume some responsibility for monitoring for unauthorized trademark use in their ad copy. (more…)
July 6th, 2012|
In our pursuit of trademark infringers over the past couple months; we noticed changes in Google’s keyword targeting algorithm that governs the display of paid ads in search results pages. Prior history had proven that if another law firm showed up in the paid ads after performing a Google search for a particular lawyer’s brand, i.e. “Carter Mario”, the other law firm most definitely was bidding on that specific keyword through Google AdWords. That made it fairly easy to identify infringers utilizing PPC to gain an advantage and “riding the back” of another brand. Enforcement of trademark rights was a much simpler path to pursue using basic search techniques, regardless whether we could attain full compliance or not.