Sunday, November 28, 2004

Another TradeMark Suit

Thanks John Battelle

11/26/04: SYRACUSE — The Brannock Device Co., makers of the famous foot-measuring device, has filed suit against ABC Industries, Inc., accusing the Long Island–based, store-fixture dealer of infringing on its “Brannock Device” trademark. The suit is a tale of the established, traditional Brannock technology meeting with the Internet’s emerging advertising methods.
A keyword-linked advertisement on the Google search engine prompted Brannock to file suit Nov. 9 in federal court in the Northern District of New York.
When Google users typed “Brannock Device,” an ad for ABC popped up on the right side of the results page, according to the complaint. The ABC ad shown in the complaint is headlined “Brannock Device” and includes the Web address. The complaint also alleges that ABC included “Brannock Device” in the meta-tag keywords for its Web site. The meta-tags are the hidden words describing a Web site that a search engine uses to help identify the page’s content. Brannock’s complaint also alleges it has identified two consumers who were actually fooled into buying non-Brannock measuring devices from ABC.

What happens when trademarked words get "registered" in an online database and have their own hyperlink? Will this solve this upcoming battle? Will this force the way search engines do business?

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