Keyword-Linked Advertising, Trademark Infringement, and Google’s Contributory Liability

By: Benjamin Aitken

A number of trademark holders have recently challenged the policies of Google and other Internet search engines that allow the trademark owner’s competitors to purchase advertising space linked specifically to the owner’s trademarks when entered as search terms. This iBrief examines the application of trademark law to this practice and concludes that Google would be contributorially liable for trademark infringement only when the advertising links lead to consumer confusion about the identity of the advertiser.

Cite: 2005 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0021