Competitor Keywords

22 11 2009

…. Habush Habush & Rottier is one of Wisconsin’s largest law firms, specializing in personal-injury cases. But search for iterations of “Habush” and “Rottier” and a sponsored link for Cannon & Dunphy attorneys often shows up, just above the link for the Habush site.

Habush alleges that Cannon paid for the keywords “Habush” and “Rottier,” in effect hijacking the names and reputation of Habush attorneys.

Cannon acknowledged paying for the keywords but denied wrongdoing, saying it was following a clearly legal business strategy.

…Habush based its lawsuit on a Wisconsin right-to-privacy statute that prohibits the use of any living person’s name for advertising purposes without the person’s consent.

…Similar lawsuits have been filed over the keyword issue, with some differences. An American Airlines lawsuit targeted not a rival but Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., and alleged not a privacy violation but that the search giants infringed on its trademarks.

American was upset that Web users who entered search terms such as AAdvantage, the trademarked name of its frequent-flier program, saw results that included links to American’s Web site but also to its rivals under sponsored links.

Google compared its policy to magazines that publish a Ford ad on the page opposite a story about Chevrolets. Yahoo said it had confidence in its policies, which allow advertisers to use others’ trademarked terms if they do so without creating “a likelihood of consumer confusion.”

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit against Google last year. The case against Yahoo is ongoing.

Courtesy of   Business Week

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