Utah’s Misguided Trademark Protection Act

Last week, technology law blogger Eric Goldman reported on a new law banning keyword advertising in Utah. The law bans advertisers from using the trademarked terms of their competitors to target ads to Utah users, and particularly affects search marketers.

The law appears highly likely to be overturned, according to Goldman, who wrote “I’m reasonably confident that the law ultimately will be struck down on some basis when challenged, although plenty of resources will be needlessly spent in the process. Irrespective of the legal analysis, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say what we’re all thinking: this law is terrible policy created by a legislature out of control.”

Over at ClickZ, Kate Kaye has done some digging, and provides a fantastic run-down of the events leading up to the law’s passage, the motives of Sen. Dan Eastman, who proposed it, and the current state of the similarly misguided child protection registry Utah created in 2005, as well as its Spyware Control Act of 2004. The Lobbyist, the Congressmen and the Utah Search Ad Law is definitely worth a read.

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