Court Says Keywords Not ‘Use In Commerce’

    October 10, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

A fifth federal court has declared that keyword advertisements and use in website metatags are not considered "use in commerce," providing a bigger shield for those that would use competitor keywords in their campaign.

And by campaign, we mean Google (if only talking about the Big 3), as both Microsoft and Yahoo have disallowed the practice (presumably) for fear of litigation.

The latest case involves S&L Vitamins and Australian Gold, Inc., says Technology and Marketing Law Blog and law professor Eric Goldman. The verdict against keywords counting as use in commerce follows similar decisions in four other New York federal courts.

But maybe as interesting, as Goldman points out, is how the Internet is killing a certain business model. S&L was reselling Australian Gold’s self-tanning product online for half of what the product was selling for in salons. (You know, the same places you buy the $15 hair gel.)

Australian Gold, naturally, would rather their product stay in that niche channel, as other claims in the lawsuit stretch to shut down S&L’s ability to sell the product at that price. Definitely good news for the consumer, if not so much for high-end retailers.