For the half-year to 30 June 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Alberto Bellan, Darren Meale and Nadia Zegze.

Two of our regular Kats are currently on blogging sabbaticals. They are David Brophy and Catherine Lee.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

IP and Retail Conference: Part II

An 100 year lead over etailers wasn't enough
to save Woolworths once the internet arrived
Following the coffee break, the next session of CLT's IP and Retail Conference was devoted to a presentation by former guest Kat Robert Cumming (Appleyard Lees) on "Retailers Going Online". Robert reviewed the various business options open to retailers seeking an online presence, starting with the purchase of a suitable domain name -- whether resonating with one's brand or with one's business activity. With search optimisation techniques, however, consumers can find retailers and/or their goods and services, which raises the question whether the cost of acquiring and maintaining a flagship domain name is worthwhile. "How many sales and click-throughs does one need in order to justify the business expense?" Robert asked.

Next on Robert's list was an analysis of search engine optimisation (SEO), and the ways and means of both boosting websites' ratings on internet search results and the ways of detecting them (this blogger was not previously familiar with the term "black hat" SEO, though he is quite familiar with the bag of tricks to which that term refers). Since SEO never pushes search results higher than listed advertisements, is it worth it anyway? Yes, if the relevant consumers are "ad blind" and automatically discount the top search results as being advertisements, since the best organic search results will be the first thing they see.

Robert then discussed the purchase of keywords, the relationship of the EU's Trade Mark Directive and its harmonisation provisions to the E-Commerce Directive and the bevy of Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) case law on their use and, in particular, on whether the internet-using consumer, being reasonably well-informed and reasonably observant, would clearly realise that the result of an internet search related to the brand which they had used as a search term.  A helpful review of the national and CJEU versions of the Interflora litigation (see here on the IPKat) and negative keywords was then delivered.

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