Avoid using trademarks in metatags

By Loretta W. Prencipe, InfoWorld |  Software

Legitimate uses of competitors' trademarks

"Comparison advertising, whether in print or on a Web site, is one of the few permitted uses of another company's trademark," Bevilacqua says. If a company runs a legitimate comparison advertisement on its Web site, mention of a competitor's trademark in the metatags of the page with the comparison ad would be an acceptable use of the mark, Bevilacqua says.

Bevilacqua also sites an additional acceptable use of another company's trademark in Web site metatags: product distributors with a license from the manufacturer to use the product trademark. "There is some legitimate interest in using the trademark. The distributor has a right to sell the product."

As a rule of thumb, Bevilacqua protects his clients' marks when the trademarks are used in a competitor's Web site source code without permission or in an unacceptable manner. "I have taken the positions that any unauthorized use of a client's trademark in a competitor's metatags is infringement," he says.

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