Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Trademark Two-for-Tuesday for Eleventh Circuit appeals: Use of trademark in Metatags upheld as infringement

In addition to the Eleventh Circuit’s decision late last week regarding the mark ANGEL FLIGHT (discussed here), there was another trademark related decision published yesterday by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving trademark infringement arising from the use of trademarked terms in website metatags. See North American Medical Corp. v. Axiom Worldwide, Inc., Case No. 07-11574 (11th Cir. April 7, 2008).

Eric Goldman on his Technology and Marketing Blog (link here) describes the decision as a “bizarre and frustrating ruling."

The lesson learned – to the extent that you insist on using trademarked terms in your website’s metatags, make sure that the words themselves are not displayed along with your website in the search engine results and make sure that the terms are used in such a way where they would be deemed comparative advertising. Of course, the safest course of action would be not to use trademarks in your metatags at all.

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