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Buying Registered Trademarks as Google Adwords?

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Zachary W. Behler
Foster Swift Business & Corporate Law Report
Spring 2011

Have you ever taken the time to Google your company name? 

It might be worth it.  If you find that your competitors are more prominently displayed in the tan sponsored link box or along the right side of the search page, you may be able to stop these companies from purchasing your company's trademarks as Google Adwords. 

Recent federal court decisions have held that purchasing a competitor's trademark as a Google Adwords tag can constitute trademark infringement, even if the company never displays the trademark in its ad.  The case for infringement is enhanced when the sponsored ad is designed to cause consumers to think that the ad is associated or affiliated with the company that owns the trademark or when it tries to harness the consumer's initial interest in the company that owns the trademark and then directs them away from that company's website.

If you need help removing an offending advertisement from Google or another search engine, contact a member of Foster Swift's Business and Corporate Practice Group.