Case List: Metatagging and Trademark Infringement
What are Metatags?
A ‘Metatag’ is a term embedded in the source code of a website so that it can be identified by search engines when users selected terms that referred to the chosen metatag. It has become a usual practice for a lot of Website to use third parties’ trademarks as metatags, so as to appear at the top of search results. An extreme case of meta-tagging can be ‘cyber stuffing’ which means the manipulative practice of repeating keywords numerous times in a website’s metatags so as to grab the attention of search engines and lure visitors.
The issue with metatags is whether the selection of a third party’s trademark as a keyword constitutes a trademark infringement, or whether it is considered as “fair use”.
Cases in United States
- Playboy Enterprises, Inc. vs. Calvin Designer Label, 985 F.Supp. 1220 (N.D.Cal. 1997);
- Playboy Enterprises, Inc. vs. Welles, 7 F. Supp.2d. 1098 (S.D. Cal.), aff’d 162 F.3d 1169 (9th Cir. 1998);
- Playboy Enterprises, Inc. vs. Asia Focus International & Internet Promotions, 1998 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10459 (E.D. Va. 1998);
- Niton Corp. vs. Radiation Monitoring Devices, Inc., 27 F. Supp. 2d 102 (D. Mass. 1998)
- Brookfield Communications vs. West Coast Entertainment, 174 F.3d 1036 (9th Cir. 1999);
- Playboy Enterprises Inc. vs. Netscape Communications Corp., 2000 WL 1308815 (C.D. Cal.);
Cases in India
- Mattel, Inc. and Others vs. Jayant Agarwalla and Others, 2008 (38) PTC 416 [Summary] [Full Text]
- Consim Info Private Limited, Chennai vs. Google India Private Limited, Bangalore and others, 2013 (54) PTC 578 (Madras High Court) [Summary]
- Samsung Electronics Company Limited & Anr. vs. Kapil Wadhwa & Ors., C.S. (OS). No.1155/2011 [Summary]
- People Interactive (I) Pvt. Ltd. v. Gaurav Jerry & Ors., NMS (L) NO. 1504 of 2014 in SUIT (L) NO. 622 OF 2014 [Full Text]
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