20
Aug/03

One of the Greatest Trademark Infringement Schemes Ever Perpetrated, Maybe.


Jupitermedia is holding a search engine conference.  In this account of the conference, a speaker appears to referring to this fact pattern:

For example, Google or Overture might suggest to an advertiser who pays to use the term “running shoes” to also add Nike, Adidas or New Balance to their search terms, to help them get more visibility. And on Google, the advertiser who bid on the term “running shoes” — who could be a retailer, a rival shoe-maker or a discounter – might automatically have its ad appear when a customer enters the term “Nike running shoes.”

when he says:

“Arguably, (Google and Overture) are facilitating one of the greatest trademark infringement schemes ever perpetrated,” [said] Jeffrey Rohrs, a strategist at digital marketing firm Optiem and former practicing intellectual property attorney. . .

Hmmm.  I would be interested in confirmation that the paid search companies suggest to advertisers that they purchase keywords consisting of trademarks.

As for running an ad of someone who bought RUNNING SHOES as a keyword when someone types in NIKE RUNNING SHOES, the question for discussion is: how is this different from the Yellow Pages running the display ad for Hertz on the page with Avis’ listing.

Shameful self-promotion: I will speaking on this topic at this conference.

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