Interesting Thread on Search Engine Regulation

Prog Goldman: Interesting thread on search engine regulation.


Google Sued By Australian Watchdog Group

IHT: “Australian consumer watchdog files action against Google Inc.”
“Australia’s consumer watchdog has launched legal action against Google Inc. for allegedly misleading users by blurring the distinction between paid and unpaid search results in favor of one of its advertisers.”


Google Subpoened For Keyword Purchase Data

Prof Goldman: “Google Subpoenaed for Keyword Purchase Data — Rhino Sports v. Sport Court


American Blinds Sanctioned In Google Case

Prof Goldman: “American Blinds Sanctioned


NY: Purchase of Keyword Is Not Use of Trademark In Commerce

Following on the heels of Site Pro-1 v. Better Metal, the Eastern District of NY has again held that neither use purchase of a keyword nor use of a competitor’s trademark in a meta-tag, rises to use of a trademark. Congratulations to my Moses and Singer colleague David Rabinowitz, who successsfully represented defendant.
Copy of decision in FragranceNet .com v. FrangranceX.com here.
Prof Goldman analysis here on why the Second Circuit has become a pro-defendant forum in search engine cases.


Class Action Against Google Re Parked Domains

Prof Goldman: “Google Sued in Domainer Lawsuit — Vulcan Golf v. Google:
“Domainer litigation is heating up, and this lawsuit may be the most ambitious anti-domainer lawsuit to date. First, it is a putative class action lawsuit. Second, in addition to naming four leading domainer firms, the plaintiffs provocatively go after Google for providing ads to domainer sites. I believe this is the first lawsuit against Google for its domainer relationships.
The complaint itself is a 121 page, 638 paragraph (with one paragraph enumerating 47 defined terms), 4.3MB behemoth alleging trademark infringement and dilution, ACPA violations, RICO and other claims.”


"The Human Touch That May Loosen Google's Grip"

NY Times: “The Human Touch That May Loosen Google’s Grip” (describing alternative search engines).


Search Engine Fans: Keep Your Eyes on MAHALO

MAHALO is a ‘human-powered’ search engine. It raises interesting questions Its founder, Jason Calacanis, is discussing Mahalo’s development on his blog. Mahalo is adding ‘hand-written’ results one at a time. If you’re monitoring a certain brand, you can be notified when it’s added.


By The Way, With Regard To Meta Tags:

The source of my statement below that search engines don’t rely on meta tags:
Search Engine Watch: “Death Of A Meta Tag.”
If any one has more current info, send it on in.


Important EDNY Decision on Keywords and Metatags

This is a pretty interesting analysis. Defendant placed plaintiff’s trademark in metatags, and also purchased search ads keyed to that trademark. Neither the ads not defendant’s webpage used the ads.
Held: If the trademark was on the webpage that was visible to potential customers, that might have been use in commerce. If the defendant actively puts the trademark in the meta-tags where the search engine can see it, with the intent that more people will see the website, that’s not use on the advertisement, so its not use in commerce. (as an aside, it is generally thought at this time that search engines ignore meta-tags).
i guess buying search ads is, to a certain extent, like moving next to the anchor store in the mall. You’ve actively positioned yourself next to the trademark owner, and can divert traffic through adjacency (mayt not divert by confusion.)

SitePro v. BetterMetal
, 1:06-cv-06508-ILG-RER (EDNY May 9 2007).