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Playmate wins right to use Playboy trademarks in her metas

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Ex-Playboy Playmate of the Year Terri Welles has won the right to describe herself as such on her Web site -- and not only on the site's front end, but in the hidden code that describes the pages' content to search engines and the like. Playboy Enterprises, owner of the Playboy and Playboy Playmate of the Year trademarks launched a trademark infringement case against Welles last year. The company's case centred on the use of those trademarks in the visible and 'invisible' parts of Welles' site. It's that 'invisible' aspect that makes the case different from other trademark infringement suits, most of which have been used to wrest control of company names from cybersquatters. Welles' defence essentially claimed that her use of the term Playboy Playmate of the Year was a reasonable use of the trademark since it accurately described the 'tits and arse' accolade she had been awarded by Playboy Enterprises. US District Court Judge Judith Keep concurred, and ruled that if Welles' display of the trademark on the visible part of the site was fair use, then so was its inclusion in the pages' Meta tags. Keep then dismissed Playboy Enterprises suit. Playboy Enterprises said it was disappointed with the decision and that it plans to appeal against the ruling. Welles uses her site to sell fans photos -- both nude and clothed -- by charging a $9.95 per month subscription for access. ® Related story Hefner huffed over Excite, Netscape for smut substitutions

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