Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Have Metatags Lost Their Relevance in Trademark Disputes?

In Standard Process v. Banks (opinion here:, the court held: "Dr. Banks [admittedly] used Standard Process trademarks in the metatags of his website. However, today 'modern search engines make little if any use of metatags.' [Citations omitted.] As more and more webmasters 'manipulated their keyword metatags to provide suboptimal keyword associations, search engines progressively realized that keyword metatags were a poor indicator of relevancy.' [Citations omitted.] Accordingly, search engines today primarily use algorithms that rank a website by the number of other sites that link or point to it."

The court relied heavily on this rationale to find no initial interest confusion between plaintiff's marks and the content on defendant's website.

Interesting! I would still employ caution before engaging in wholesale replication of my competitor's marks in my metatags, though.


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