Search-Related Legal Updates

Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman, on his Technology and Marketing Law blog, has updates on several search-related laws or lawsuits this week.

  1. Broad Matching Doesn’t Violate Injunction – In the Rhino Sports v. Sport Court case in Arizona, the courts have gotten broad matching right for once, Goldman says. Rhino Sports agreed in 2002 to a permanent injunction from using “sport court” in commerce, and last year, Sport Court saw that Rhino Sports’ ad was showing up in a search for “sport court.” The judge correctly pointed out that Rhino Sports was using Google’s Broad Match, and was not targeting the term “sport court,” and so was not in contempt of the order.
  2. Utah Trademark Protection Act Updates – It seems Utah’s legislators will hold off on implementing the state’s Keyword Protection Act “for at least a couple of months.” That’s probably the best plan, since the law is both unenforceable and would not achieve the desired results.
  3. Another NY Court Says Keyword Triggering Isn’t TM Use in Commerce – In the Site Pro-1 v. Better Metal case, a court has determined that keyword triggering and metatag usage isn’t a trademark use in commerce, so it’s ok for companies to bid on others’ trademarked terms. The legal debate’s not over, since other courts have ruled the other way, but this is one more vote on the side of sanity.
  4. Social Networking Sites and the Law – In preparation for an undergrad event looking at laws that pertain to social networking, Goldman has put together a brief summary of the legal issues involved. Two of the biggest issues are people creating fake profiles of others, and sexual predators on social networking sites.

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