US court holds no infringement to use competitor’s trademark as a Google AdWord

Posted On October 8, 2013
In Trade Marks in Cyberspace / Reply

A US appeals court has ruled it is not an infringement to use a competitor’s trademark to activate Google sponsored links.

In 1-800 Contacts, Inc. v., Inc., it was argued that the purchase of keywords matching 1-800 Contacts’ trademark caused “initial-interest confusion” in customers, resulting in their clicking on a link to’s website when their original interest was in visiting 1-800 Contacts’ website.

The Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit found that, because  only 1.5% of searchers actually clicked on the sponsored link, it could not be concluded that’s keyword activity was likely to lure consumers away from 1-800. Accordingly, there was no likelihood of confusion, and so no trademark infringement.

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