trademark infringement

With the Internet being so expansive, it may be challenging to keep track of exactly when, where, and how your trademark is being infringed upon. More specifically, it may be difficult to pinpoint whether another party has purchased an Internet keyword that includes your federally registered trademark. What’s more, it may be a gray area on whether this is considered infringement or not.  Follow along to find out when a trademarked keyword might be considered infringement and how a proficient Missouri trademark litigation lawyer at TM Law can help identify your legal options.

By definition, what is a trademarked keyword?

To reiterate, a trademarked keyword is an Internet keyword that includes a federally registered trademark. Essentially, the owner of a mark may purchase Internet keywords to use them for the online advertising of their products and services.

For example, the Frito-Lay company may purchase the Internet keyword “Lay’s classic potato chips” as part of their keyword advertising initiatives. However, if another party purchases an Internet keyword that entails the word “Lay’s,” to advertise a differing product to the same targeted consumers, then they may get in trouble for infringing upon this registered mark.

Under what circumstances is a trademarked keyword considered infringement?

If you wish for the third party to relinquish their use of a trademarked keyword, then you may consider pursuing legal action. After all, as a trademark holder, you hold the right to sue for trademark infringement in federal court. In your case, you may make any of the following arguments:

  • You may argue that the third party’s use of a trademarked keyword creates confusion among your potential consumers, as it is unrelated to their products, services, or brand.
  • You may argue that the third party’s use of a trademarked keyword is diminishing the value of your mark, as it is driving awareness and traffic to their site instead.
  • You may argue that the third party’s use of a trademarked keyword is depreciating the time and money you spent registering your mark, as it is increasing their sales instead.

However, this is not to say that it will be easy to sustain your arguments as relevant. This may be because of the sheer volume of Internet keywords that are used in this day in age. So, it may pose a challenge to connect the third party’s use of a trademarked keyword directly to consumer confusion, diminished value, or otherwise the damages you incurred. This is why it may be in your best interest to first file a complaint with Google, Yahoo, Bing, or another search engine company. Or, you may ask the third party directly to stop using the keyword.

For these reasons alone, you must consult with a talented Missouri trademark attorney immediately. Our team at TM Law is happy to advise you.