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Re: Is it legal?
From Jeff at Ackley Uniforms on 12 May '99
replying to Is it legal? posted by Chip Fleck

>One of my competitors put our company name in the
>"<META NAME="KeyWords" CONTENT="
>
line of his web page.
>I was wondering if this is illegal.
>Thanks,
>Chip

There was a recent lower court decision on the issue of whether
a website can include the names of competitors in the site's
meta keyword list. I was interested in just this point when
I found our firm's name in the keywords (not the visible text)
of a site that competes with us.

The lower court ruled that this practice isn't legal. But
the issue is still undecided in most jurisdictions.

But there's going to be a lot more litigation down the road on
related issues. I wondered whether Dr. Pepper (for example) could
say in their key words: "we are not Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola, Mr. Pibb..."

Or what if Dr. Pepper included a survey (or a link list) listing
all their competitors, knowing that a search engine will eventually
pick up those brand names?

Mentioning ones competitors in ones print advertising is legal.In fact
at one time the FTC encouraged this practice to make advertising more
useful to consumers. But what if Dr Pepper mentions other major soft
drink brands in <h1> size primarily for SE purposes. For example:
"Drink Dr Pepper. It tastes better than Coke, Pepsi, Tab..."

In our own situation, we merely asked the offending website to remove
our tradename and they did so within a few weeks.

I would say that your competitor's use of your tradename is probably
illegal if his only purpose is to skim off some your traffic.




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