Can We Solve Trademark Issues Outside The Courts?

Nothing burns ClickZ columnist James Hering more than "a cheap competitor" trying to "hijack a customer" by purchasing ads linked to keywords that are also the trademarks
of his clients, as he writes in Will Branded Keywords Kill Search?

Sure, that act would upset any brand holder. But as I’ve written often before (such as in Google Unlikely To
Ban Trademark-Linked Ads
), the issues aren’t so simple. How about the protest group with a valid complaint against the brand holder. They can’t buy an ad linked to that
name? And someone who wants to sell a product such help with Windows-based computers. Do they need Microsoft’s permission to advertise on something like "windows help?"

Now the idea Hering has in his column of search engines, advertisers and others coming together in some type of summit to figure out the best way forward is a great one.
I’d love to see it. It won’t stop the court cases, however. Someone is going to push this in the courts until we get a final legal resolution. But there’s no reason why
various stakeholders can’t come together with some resolution that’s equitable to all outside of the legal framework. That could also have an impact on whatever the legal
systems ultimately decide, as well.

FYI, for another exploration of the many issues involved, see coverage of our mock court case held during SES San Jose:
Trademark vs. Search: Do you Soo…gle?

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