Internet search engines and trademark rights
Trademark rights owners in China are increasingly demanding action against keyword advertising programmes used by well-known internet search engines. Recent court decisions in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are helpful but highlight regional disparities. By Luckie Hong, Jones Day.
Issue: February 2009
Keywords (click to search):
Google and Baidu have become household names in China. Both
companies provide internet search services, and both now offer
keyword advertising programmes. Under these programmes,
companies can purchase certain keywords - when a user searches
for these words, targeted advertising is displayed, often in
the form of links to the companies' own websites.
Recent cases from the PRC Courts in
Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai have again raised questions
relating to keyword advertising programmes. The issue at stake
is whether the purchase or sale of keywords that constitute the
whole or part of another party's registered trademark can be
classified as trademark infringement under Chinese law.
RIGHTS OWNERS DEMANDING ACTION
Trademark holders are now challenging keyword advertising in
China; such challenges have also been made in other
jurisdictions worldwide for a considerable time. As far back as
1999, the United States Court of the Ninth Circuit
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