Paper Outline




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Chad Davis

Trademark & Unfair Competition Law



Fall 2006

Paper Outline





  1. Introduction

    1. Trademark policy and objectives

      1. Minimize consumer search costs

      2. Protect against free-riding on competitor’s trademarks

    2. Internet advertising raises new issues

    3. Courts analyzing keyword search buys have taken conflicting approaches to “Use in Commerce”

  2. Statutory Basis for Use in Commerce

    1. Lanham Act

    2. Policy reasons for use requirement (First Amendment concerns)

  3. Cases Involving Keyword Search Buys

    1. Use in commerce (Geico, JRCigar, Edina Realty)

    2. No use in commerce (Rescuecom & Merck)

    3. Undecided if use in commerce (American Blind)

  4. How Cases Involving Keyword Search Buys Align With Prior Internet Advertising Cases

    1. Banner Ad (Playboy Enterprises)

    2. Pop-Up Ad (1800 Contacts)

    3. Metatags (Brookfield Communications)

  5. Implications of the JRCigar and Rescuecom Approach to Use in Commerce

    1. The problem with the JRCigar approach

      1. Distorts traditional requirement for use in commerce of the trademark in connection with sale or advertising of goods.

      2. Improperly extends scope of trademark protection: free speech implications

    2. The problem with the Rescuecom approach

      1. Potential for abuse and consumer confusion because insufficient trademark regulation

      2. Incomplete trademark doctrine for internet advertising

      3. Illustration of the problem:

        1. Internet Search Engines are not required to clearly label sponsored links (some purposely mixed sponsored and unsponsored results)

        2. Owner of keyword trademark purchases a sponsored link

  6. Possible Solution to the Conflicting Approaches to Use in Commerce for Keyword Search Buys.

    1. The Solution: keyword search buys of trademarks constitute use in commerce when the sponsored link provides for the sale or advertisement of goods or services.

    2. The reason that sponsored links can satisfy the requirement for use in commerce of the trademark in connection with sale or advertising of goods.

    3. Use in Commerce Does Not Equal Trademark Infringement

      1. Still must satisfy likelihood of confusion requirement

      2. Defenses to trademark infringement: fair use, nominative use, etc.

    4. Benefits of this approach:

      1. Helps eliminate risk of abuse and consumer confusion

      2. More complete trademark doctrine

  7. Conclusion


Bibliography





  1. Gov’t Employees Ins. Co. v. Google, Inc., 2005 WL 1903128 (E.D.Va.)

  2. Gov’t Employees Ins. Co. v. Google, Inc., 330 F.Supp.2d 700 (E.D.Va. 2004)

  3. 800-JR Cigar, Inc. v. Goto.com, Inc., 437 F.Supp.2d 273 (D.N.J. 2006)

  4. Edina Realty, Inc. v. Themlsonline.com, 2006 WL 737064 (D.Minn.)

  5. Edina Realty, Inc. v. Themlsonline.com, 2006 WL 1314303 (D.Minn.)

  6. Google Inc. v. American Blind & Wallpaper Factory, Inc., 2005 WL 832398 (N.D.Cal.)

  7. Brookfield Communications, Inc. v. W. Coast Entm’t Corp., 174 F.3d 1036 (9th Cir. 1999)

  8. Playboy Enter., Inc. v. Netscape Communications Corp., 354 F.3d 1020 (9th Cir. 2004)

  9. Rescue Corp. v. Google, Inc., 2006 WL 2811711 (N.D.N.Y.)

  10. Merck & Co. Inc. v. Mediplan Health Consulting, Inc., 431 F.Supp.2d 425 (S.D.N.Y. 2006)

  11. Merck & Co. Inc. v. Mediplan Health Consulting, Inc., 425 F.Supp.2d 402 (S.D.N.Y. 2006)

  12. 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v. WhenU.com, Inc., 414 F.3d 400 (2nd Cir. 2005)

  13. Leanne Stendell, Trademarks—Internet Pop-up Advertisement Triggered by Competitor’s Trademarks Is Not Infringing “Use in Commerce” of the Marks, 58 SMU L.Rev. 215

  14. Sarah J. Givan, Using Trademarks as Location Tools on the Internet: Use in Commerce?, 2005 UCLA J. L. & Tech. 4

  15. Alicia Gamez, WHENU.com & Google Inc.: Parsing Trademark’s Use Requirement, 21 Berkeley Tech. L.J. 403

  16. Margreth Barret, Internet Trademark Suits and the Demise of “Trademark Use,” 39 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 371.

  17. Uli Widmaier, Use, Liability, and the Structure of Trademark Law, Hofsta Law Review, vol. 33, pg 603

  18. Patrick Frye, “An Internet Advertising Service Can Constitute “Use in Commerce,” 22 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L.J. 89

  19. Charles McCarthy, Metatags and the Sale of Keywords in Search Engine Advertising: Confusing Consumer Confusion with Choice, 9 Intell. Prop. L. Bull. 137.

  20. Lisa A. Nester, Keywords, Trademarks, and the Gray Market: Why The Use is Not Fair, 7 Marq. Intell. Prop. L. Rev. 235.

  21. Urs Gasser, Regulating Search Engines: Taking Stock and Looking Ahead, 8 Yale J.L. & Tech. 201

  22. Neel Chatterjee and Connie E. Merriett, U-Haul International, Inc. v. Whenu.com, Inc. Wells Fargo & Co. v. Whenu.com, Inc. and 1-800 Contacts Inc. v. Whenu.com, Inc.: Pop-up Advertising as ‘Use in Commerce’; Under the Lanham Act: A Case Analysis, 20 Santa Clara Computer & High Tech. L.J. 1113

  23. Charles R. Macedo and Holly Pekowsky, Apop-Ups and “Use of” A Protected Trademark in Light of 1-800 Contacts, 23-SUM Comm. Law. 28

  24. Deborah F. Buckman, 197 A.L.R. Fed. 17.

  25. Neil Smith, 1 Internet Law and Practice § 13:7


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