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Woman Loses Case vs. Google Over Levitra Search Suggestion

Danny Goodwin
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Beverly Stayart is now 0-3 trying to sue search engines for vanity search results. Last week her case against Google for the search suggestion [bev stayart levitra] was dismissed in U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Wisconsin.


According to Eric Goldman:

The court rejects Stayart's publicity rights claim because she didn't show her name has any commercial value or that Google made any use of it (commercial or not). Instead, "Google enables internet users to access publically available materials connected to plaintiff's name." The court also says Google isn't impermissibly selling the phrase "bev stayart levitra" because clearly any resulting ads are broad-matched to "levitra."

Stayart twice sued Yahoo unsuccessfully.

She first filed suit against Yahoo after conducting a search for her name and found one Yahoo spam result (possibly cloaked) that connected her name to porn and malware. The court dismissed that suit.

Less than a year later, she sued again for false endorsement because Yahoo suggested a search of "bev stayart levitra." This case was also dismissed, with the court finding her name wasn't protected under the Lanham Act.

Despite not losing the case, it seems Yahoo has removed "bev stayart levitra" as a search suggestion.

"Her litigation quest has unquestionably helped define her reputation in the Internet law community, but perhaps not in the way she might desire," Goldman noted.

Will she unsuccessfully sue Bing next?


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