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Danny Goodwin

Woman Comes Up Limp Yet Again in Google Search Suggestion Fight

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Beverly Stayart has come up limp in her bid to hold search engines accountable for a search suggestion that links her to erectile dysfunction drug Levitra. The middle-aged Wisconsin woman is now 0-4 in attempts to prove her name has been misappropriated.

As Reuters reported:

The Elkhorn, Wisconsin resident said this was at odds with her "positive and wholesome image" linked to her advocacy for animal rights, her research in genealogy, her published poems and her MBA degree from the University of Chicago.

But a three-judge appeals court panel said Google's alleged improper use of Stayart's name fell within the "public interest" and "incidental use" exceptions to Wisconsin's misappropriation laws, either of which would doom the lawsuit.

"I feel that the decision was economically-driven, in favor of Google and against the rights of the individual," Stayart, who is represented by her husband, told Ars Technica, adding that the court was protecting the "1 percent" (Google) in a reference to the Occupy movement.

In the past, her name has also been found alongside search suggestions involving malware and porn.

In March 2011, her case against Google was dismissed by the U.S. District Court - Eastern District of Wisconsin because "she didn't show her name has any commercial value or that Google made any use of it (commercial or not)."

She also twice sued Yahoo. Both were unsuccessful.

One small bit of good news for Stayart: unlike in 2011, when users type in [bev stayart] into Bing's search box, there are no levitra suggestions.


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