Feeds

Microsoft won't pursue keyword trade mark users in US

Ach, fill your boots

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Microsoft will no longer investigate complaints that words used to trigger search adverts constitute trade mark infringement in the US.

The change to its search advert policy in the US mirrors Google's existing policy.

The rules governing search adverts in the UK remain unchanged and forbid the use of keywords in a way that infringes trade mark law.

Keywords are terms which companies bid on so that their adverts appear when users of search engines search for that word or phrase. Trade mark owners have sought to have courts rule that one company using another's trade mark as an ad trigger breaches trade mark law.

Those companies have been largely unsuccessful. A number of US lawsuits have failed, and in a case involving Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that trade mark rights are only infringed by ads that cause confusion about the identity of the advertiser.

Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University School of Law in the US, reported the change to Microsoft's US policies for its adCenter search ads system.

"Starting March 3, 2011, adCenter will no longer review trademark keyword complaints. However, adCenter will continue to investigate brand owner complaints related to trademark use in ad text," said an email from Microsoft, according to Goldman.

Microsoft's policy for the US states that it will still investigate complaints about the misuse of trade marked terms in the text of an advert.

The company's UK policy says that it will still look into UK instances of trade mark use in keywords.

"You may not bid on as a keyword, or use in the content of your ads, any term whose use would infringe the trademark of any third party or otherwise be unlawful or in violation of the rights of any third party," it said.

The European Parliament recently adopted a resolution calling for search engine companies to be prevented from allowing one company to bid on keywords that were trade marked by another company.

"[The Commission should] modify the limited liability regime for information society services in order to make the sale by search engines of registered brand names as advertising keywords subject to prior authorisation from the owner of the brand name in question," said the Parliament resolution.

Copyright © 2011, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Fast And Furious 6 cammer thrown in slammer for nearly three years
Man jailed for dodgy cinema recording of Hollywood movie
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Ballmer leaves Microsoft board to spend more time with his b-balls
From Clippy to Clippers: Hi, I see you're running an NBA team now ...
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
Call of Duty daddy considers launching own movie studio
Activision Blizzard might like quality control of a CoD film
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?