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Do Pay-For-Placement Search Engines Engage In Trademark “Use”?

Law360 (December 18, 2006, 12:00 AM EST) -- There is a growing split among district courts about whether pay-for-placement advertising programs operated by Internet search engines, such as Google’s “AdWords” program, can give rise to trademark infringement. The split centers on whether buying and selling trademarked words and phrases as “keywords” that generate Internet search results constitutes “use in commerce” for purposes of the Lanham Act.

Two decisions issued in just the last three months highlight the two lines of decisions that have emerged. In both of those decisions, and all of the decisions...
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