Re: Meta Tags and trademarks

Subject: Re: Meta Tags and trademarks
From: Tom Campbell <klook -at- EUDORAMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 4 May 1999 14:22:07 -0400

The judge's opinion in the meta tag ruling--which, for those just joining us, says you can't piggyback on the goodwill of other companies (notably competitors) by adding their brand names as <META> tags to draw web surfers to your site--made the analogy to advertising on roadways.

Let's say there's a Pizza Hut on Exit 9 of I-666. The owner of Greezy Boy Pizza, a competing business located off Exit 8, puts up a billboard saying "Pizza Hut--Exit 8." Customers get off at Exit 8 looking for Pizza Hut and don't find it, because of course it's really at Exit 9. But after driving around a little, they find Greezy Boy Pizza and say, "Well, heck, we can just eat here!" So by trading on the more established brand name, Greezy Boy Pizza steals Pizza Hut's business. It would be hard for them to justify this deception in court.

Of course this issue has attracted more media attention than it might have otherwise because a former Playmate of the Year used the Playboy brand name as a meta tag on her web site, and the publisher sued her. But the court has found in her favor, saying that because she has a legitimate connection with the brand name she should be able to use it in her marketing.

Tom Campbell
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
--Mark Twain

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