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Online Trademark Infringement

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Online Trademark Infringement

Online Trademark Infringement involves a number of unique issues that go beyond merely the act of using an owner’s trademark without their permission.

On the internet, trademark infringement frequently involves questions around whether Search Engine Optimization, or “SEO” was conducted in addition to the infringement. Finding out if SEO was involved can become a core issue that helps to establish whether trademark infringement was committed intentionally, and by how much the usage of another’s mark was incorporated in order to profit from it versus from other advertising and marketing activities. Search Engine Optimization can often be subtle, so detecting it and documenting the key elements of an infringing campaign can help persuade courts that unjust and willfully malicious activities have taken place with the intention of interfering with commerce and unfairly intercepting business that would’ve otherwise gone to the trademark owner.

In many ways, search engines have become the internet itself, since they are a primary gateway by which consumers come to discover websites about particular topics and go to them. Visibility within a search engine can make a website easy-to-find, while websites that cannot achieve a presence and good rankings within a search engine might seemingly be nonexistent, since many users would be otherwise unable to locate them (aside from advertising and website promotion through other channels).

Infringement Via Social Media

Social Media Platforms, such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, are another major online consumer channel where consumers can discover a website’s existence and go to it. Detecting trademark infringement via social media can be challenging, and often requires knowledge of specialized tools and methods to investigate.

Domain Name Infringement

Trademark infringement committed via registration of domain names is often called “Cybersquatting”, along with the closely-related practice of “Typosquatting”. Most major corporations and recognizable brand names have domain name infringement occurring, and are frequently unaware of it.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) Infringement

Individuals and companies that commit trademark infringement often do so quite blatently — even to the point of purchasing advertising that prominently features others’ trademarks. Trademark infringement committed via Pay-Per-Click (PPC)  and other types of online advertising can be quite difficult to detect, despite the efforts advertising networks to keep it from happening.

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