Feeds

Microsoft won't pursue keyword trade mark users in US

Ach, fill your boots

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.