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Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Positive outcome through negative order

Via Michael Beck (Vasco Data Security) and The Register comes this item from Pinsent Mason's Out-Law site. It's a report on a US court decision to order a company to use 'negative keywords' in order to avoid its being associated with the trade mark of another business. The case is Orion Bancorp v Orion Residential Finance (US District Court for the Middle District of Florida). Since both businesses were in the financial sector, there was plenty of scope for confusion on the internet. This is why the judge imaginatively injuncted the defendant to stop

"purchasing or using any form of advertising including keywords or 'adwords' in internet advertising containing any mark incorporating Plaintiff’s Mark, or any confusingly similar mark".
In addition, there was a positive order that the defendant,
"when purchasing internet advertising using keywords, adwords or the like, require the activation of the term 'Orion' as negative keywords or negative adwords in any internet advertising purchased or used".
The 'negative adword' instructs the system never to display an advert when a certain term is searched for. Google terms these 'negative keywords', while Yahoo! calls them 'excluded words'.

The IPKat imagines that this is a neat solution in many situations and is vaguely annoyed that it never occurred to him before. Merpel says, shouldn't negative keywords be routinely negotiated wherever businesses are demerged and there is some risk of convergence of the demerged segments?

More on various Orions here, here and here
Orion recipes here

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