Friday, April 13, 2012

Traverse Internet Law Federal Court Report: April 2012 - Trademark Infringement Lawsuits

The facts are unproven allegations of the Plaintiff and all commentary is based upon the allegations, the truthfulness and accuracy of which are likely in dispute.

FILED: 3/23/2012

There is clearly a split of authority as to whether purchasing a key word that generates an AdWord ad is trademark infringement and otherwise unlawful. The Courts are split on the issue. With respect to using a competitor’s trademark in text, unless there is a “fair use” this would generally constitute trademark infringement, particularly if the net impact is to increase organic results when the competitor is searched.

The Plaintiffs own numerous federal registrations for trademarks related to “Metro marks”. The Defendants are alleged to have purchased one of the trademarks as an AdWord and for organic purposes in advertising copy on the web. This has allegedly resulted in high indexed results for the competitor’s ads and high organic search results when someone is searching for the Plaintiffs.

The Plaintiffs allege infringement of federally registered marks, federal unfair competition, federal dilution, common law unfair competition, common law trademark infringement, and unjust enrichment. The Plaintiffs’ prayer for relief requests the entry of a judgment to provide relief for all allegations, and an award of the Defendants’ profits, the damages sustained by the Plaintiffs, the cost for this action, and reasonable attorney fees. The prayer for relief also requests that the Defendants be preliminary and permanently enjoined and restrained from further infringements, and any further relief as the Court may deem just and proper. Traverse Internet Law Cross-Reference Number 1555.