The Disputes of Initial Interest Confusion in the Internet World – From Meta Tags to Keywords

The Disputes of Initial Interest Confusion in the Internet World – From Meta Tags to Keywords

 

Title
The Disputes of Initial Interest Confusion in the Internet World – From Meta Tags to Keywords
Author
Wei-Ke Chien
Keywords
Initial Interest Confusion, Keyword, Search Engine, Google
Abstract
Since many website operators find consumers today often use trademarks on an
Internet search engine, like Google or Yahoo, seeking specific goods or services,
these operators also adjust their marketing strategy to insert others’ famous trademarks
in their original website HTML pages (known as meta tags) or purchase the
“keyword” (usually is other’s trademark) from the search engine operator in order
to have a better position in the search result pages. By these methods, the consumers
will sometimes be referred to the advertisements for these website operators,
instead of the real trademark owners. Undoubtedly, the real trademark owners are
very angry with these, since they suffer economic loss. For these reasons, there are
more and more lawsuits between the trademark owners and their competitors or
search engine operators. The plaintiff often claims the defendant’s behavior still
violates the doctrine of initial interest confusion (IIC) in trademark law. The IIC
doctrine is gradually developed by practices of the courts, it allowing a finding of
infringement even if a consumer is sure to know the actual source or origin of the
goods or services at the time the purchase is made, so long as the consumer may
have been momentarily confused.

This Article will argue that the early application of the initial interest confusion
doctrine in the United States to the Internet meta tag and search engine cases has a
questionable legal basis and extend trademark protection far beyond the traditional
purposes of trademark law. Additionally, how to define the “use” of the trademark
is the prerequisite condition to decide trademark infringe or not, this Article will
also discuss the appropriate scope in order to protect the trademark owner’s right
and harmony with the changing internet behavior.

Abstract Article

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