Intellectual Property Advisory: Keyword Advertising: When Your Trademark Becomes the Key to Your Competitor’s Internet Ad

Internet advertising is a multi-billion-dollar industry in the United States. This form of advertising has become an essential component of advertising and marketing programs for businesses as web-savvy consumers rely more often on search engines to find and purchase products. Advertising programs offered by search engines, such as Google’s Adwords® and Keyword Suggestion Tool, Yahoo!’s Sponsored Search service, and Microsoft Bing’s Search Advertising, allow businesses to purchase keywords to display web advertisements on the search engine results page along with relevant non-sponsored search results.

How does keyword advertising work? Keyword advertising enables advertisers to purchase or bid on keywords that trigger the display of their ads in search engine results. An advertiser may purchase keywords, such as single words, phrases, or even another’s trademark, from a search engine and thereby sponsor specific search terms to ensure their ads appear in the search results. When Internet users search the keywords, the search engine’s computer algorithms link the advertiser’s keyword ad to the search results page.

Please see full advisory below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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