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Legal Loopholes

Much to the dismay of brand holders, there's no current law making it illegal to bid on another company's trademark terms on the search engines. That's why advertisers must waste precious time filing infringement complaints, cease and desist letters, and occasionally even lawsuits against violators or search engines. New laws are needed to prevent future occurrences where reasonably possible.

In February 2002, Mark Nutritionals filed lawsuits for alleged trademark infringement and unfair competition against AltaVista, FindWhat.com, Kanoodle, and Overture (Mark Nutritionals v. Overture). The company's weight loss product “Body Solutions” web site listing was positioned below competing sites that also bid on this keyword phrase. Unfortunately, later that year Mark Nutritionals filed for bankruptcy, and the Federal Trade Commission ordered an injunction against the company's product for false claims. Where does that leave trademark owners? In legal limbo. At least there's limited relief through the aforementioned actions.


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