Court: Who Cares About Keyword Metatags?

    April 25, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

Trademark lawyers have repeatedly tried to make the case that dropping a competitor’s trademarked terms in website metatags are a violation of trademark law. A new court decision, though, says otherwise.

The argument has rested on traditional tenets like potential for confusion, trademark dilution, use in commerce, and even product-switching. A new court decision, though, doesn’t let those arguments go forward until the plaintiff can prove keyword metatags count for anything at all.

Since search engines virtually ignore keyword tags, it’s hard to make an argument that trademark use in the tags do any real damage at all.

"SEOs and SEMs have known for years that most search engines ignore or give minimal acknowledgement to keyword metatags," writes Technology and Marketing Law blawger Eric Goldman, who hips us to the case. "Lawyers, on the other hand, have been living in a parallel fantasy universe where keyword metatags single-handedly divert unwaveringly brand-loyal customers to piratical competitors."