posted Sep 15, 2000

Ruling Recognizes Limits to Online Rights of Trademarks General IP Issues9/15/2000; 9:17:06 AM 'In an important decision that recognizes limits to intellectual property rights online, a federal judge earlier this week ruled that a company's well-known trademarks may be used without authorization by search engines in some programming and sales practices.'I agree with the court decision; there's nothing illegal about asking somebody about a Ford product and having them respond with why Chrysler is so much better then Ford. Just because somebody types in a trademark on a search engine does not obligate the search engine to respond with only stuff approved by the trademark holder, not even advertisements. If the search engine choses to sell advertisements based on words, even trademarks, so be it. I can't say it thrills me, but such are the realities of the Internet market.Forcing the search engines to only respond with trademark-holder approved content is a restraint on free speech.(There are practical issues too... what do you do if someone types in "Ford Chrysler compare"... if Ford buys both Ford and Chrysler, and a Ford ad is displayed, can Chrysler complain? What about international trademarks? And why do we want to turn search engines into international trademark enforcers?)Can't find a copy of the decision.


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