Tag Archive | "legal"

Is A Competitor Devaluing Your Keywords?

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Is A Competitor Devaluing Your Keywords?

In what appears to be a unique case, a Federal Court in Tampa Florida has ordered a company to use ‘negative keywords’ to avoid being associated with another firm’s trade mark.

In the case of Orion Bankcorp Inc. v. Orion Residential Financial, the court ruled that Orion Residential was basically devaluing the trademark and intellectual property value of the keywords people use in search engine searches that would take them to Orion Bankcorp. The court ordered Orion Residential to insert “negative keywords” into their website.

Without going into to all the legal shmegal, the court basically stated that Orion Residential was infringing Orion Bancorps trademark by inserting keywords that Orion Bancorp has trademark protection for in their name as used in keywords and such. The court entered an order:

“barring defendant from purchasing or using any form of advertising including keywords or “adwords” in internet advertising containing any mark incorporating Plaintiff’s Mark, or any confusingly similar mark, and shall, when purchasing internet advertising using keywords, adwords or the like, require the activation of the term “ORION” as negative keywords or negative adwords in any internet advertising purchased or used.”

This frankly is not unusual in terms of trademark cases. Please are always getting sued for trademark infringement in trying to siphon off business using someone else’s established good will.

Search engines often get sued for devaluing trademarks in this way. Google has been sued several times for selling key words in its’ Google AdWords program that a company may feel are protected trademark. Until the American Airlines suit however they have been primarily obscure companies not making big news . It is however the first time I have seen a court order a company to insert safeguard in their web site to protect the trademark of another company. If anyone has seen other cases like this I would would love to hear about them.

This is very similar to the issue in the much more prominent and publicized case of American Airlines v. Google. Without going into all the intricacies of the case American Airlines sued Google for allowing other companies to have their banners come up when Google searches for American Airlines and related words were done. The basic argument is that these banners devalue the intellectual property and infringe on the trademark of American Airlines. In layman’s terms? American Airlines was sick and tired of companies getting a free ride on the back of trademark value they worked so hard to establish while Google made a killing.

This case is still pending. Google is fighting back hard. They make a killing selling these keywords to companies. A win by American Airlines will have financial ramification for Google and set the standard for future suits of this nature.

We all know that keyword abuse in the business world is rampant. How many company specific keywords do you have on your business site in the hopes that people looking for the more established company will be decided to check out your web site instead when it appears in the search rankings. There is no getting around the fact that this practice tends to run afoul of U.S. trademark law.

I believe that these keyword suits will become much more common and high profile over the next decade as the internet becomes more and more integrated in the the everyday shopping experience. The American Airlines Suit is just the first high profile salvo.

I had better go take my Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse key words out of my web site for Mickey’s House of Hookers…..

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A 40 Billion Dollar Anti-Bush T-Shirt

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A 40 Billion Dollar Anti-Bush T-Shirt

I just read a story on Fox about a Tennessee couple who lost their son in Iraq suing an Arizona T-Shirt seller for 40 billion Dollars for the survivors of slain soldiers whose names are on the T-Shirt.

A complaint seeking class-action status for the lawsuit by Robin and Michael Read says Dan Frazier of Flagstaff has no right to profit from commercial sale of products that use the dead soldiers’ names without permission. Frazier’s “Bush lied — They died” T-shirts, sold at his site CarryaBigSticker.com, list Iraq war casualties’ names, and Frazier contends he is covered by First Amendment free-speech protections.

I understand the theory in principal as ridiculously flawed as it is. Fraziers position is also ridiculously flawed. This is not a First Amendment case. You can have First Amendment protection and still not be allowed to profit off that protection at someone’s expense….

There are so many examples that I wont even get into it.

What I will ge into are these ridiculous class action lawsuits that have no agenda other than money for the attorneys. Anyone who thinks this is about anything other than that is delusional. There is no agenda of social concern, free speech right or even those who have lost their lives in Iraq.

This is about some guy with a T-Shirt that makes money trying to keep what he has. This is about some slimy attorney or law firm preying on the grief of those who have lost loved ones trying to get a piece of the pie…..

I challenge whoever is handling this case to step forward and explain why he or she is not some “McDonald’s Hot Coffee Chasing” “As Seen On TV”, Picture on the Back Of A Bus” class action ambulance chaser….

Please tell us there is some “greater public social good’ here other than your climbing the social legal ladder on the backs of Iraq soldiers and vets and their families.

Am I singling out the attorney when I should also be castigating the seller of the T-Shirt? I sure am. I hold the members of my profession to a higher standard of social conciseness. The legal profession and social responsibility does not have to be a contradiction in terms……

In closing, I would personally like to thank the attorney who took this ridiculous case for perpetuating every negative stereotype and cliche out there……  You’re a hell of a humanitarian…..

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I was reading the Personal Journal Section of the Wall Street Journal There was an article entitled “New Tatics Take The Bite Out Of Bed Bugs” Since this article is not about bed bugs I will just say that the article as it implies goes over new technology is combating the problem of bed bugs which apparently is a problem in NYC. (I just checked my bed and it does not appear to be a problem in the Cuban household but I am sure I will dream about bedbugs tonight).

What caught my eye was one of the ” bed bug fighting companies” named in the article. The article states “Bedbugs and Beyond will remove people’s furniture and fumigate it with poisonous gas.

Being a frequent shopper at Bed, Bath and Beyond a respected retailer who I suspect is “bedbug free”. I thought they were making a joke about Bed Bath…. I do not consider myself to be more sensitive or have perception skills beyond the average Ralph so what does this tell me?

I can not believe the attorneys for Bed Bath and Beyond have not made a trademark stink over this…. It is clearly a play on their name in a derivative industry. My not so legal mind believes there is a decent argument that this is a defamatory attempt at satire to make a profit off of the Bed Bath and Beyond name which also dilutes the trademark value of Bed Bath and Beyond….

Any trademark attorneys out there to comment?

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