Yahoo Settles Mary Kay Trademark Infringement Suit

    November 6, 2009

It looks like some lawyers representing cosmetics giant Mary Kay have removed their figurative war paint.  In early July, Mary Kay sued Yahoo, alleging trademark infringement, but not long ago, Yahoo was able to settle the case.

Yahoo LogoMary Kay originally objected to Yahoo’s practice of adding links of its own choosing to certain emails.  The links appeared in popups when people would position their cursors over the text, potentially creating confusion about the extra ads’ origin.

"Emails that advertise Mary Kay products are hijacked and manipulated by Yahoo and provide an unfair advantage for the unauthorized re-sellers and other competitors," claimed Mary Kay’s suit, which was filed in the Northern District of Dallas.

Now – although the terms of the settlement haven’t been disclosed – Yahoo’s presumably apologized, promised to never repeat the offending behavior, and provided at least a little in the way of cash compensation.  Such is the way these things go.

Anyway, a big hat tip also goes to Erik Larson, who noted that this settlement may have some interesting ramifications.  He wrote, "The dispute was similar to trademark lawsuits against Google Inc. in which the world’s most popular search firm was accused of wrongfully selling ad rights to keyword searches."

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