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Manipulation of Search Engine Results by Trademark Metatag Misuse

Publication Details: 


Manipulation of Search Engine Results by Trademark Metatag Misuse
Garnet Kelly-Cedro
Master’s in Paralegal Studies, The George Washington University

Publication Month: 
June 2012
Background: 

Garnet Kelly-Cedro, was born in 1983 in Blasdell, New York. After high school, she attended Daemen College in Amherst, New York and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts consisting of a Major in Political Science and a Minor in Criminal Justice. In further pursuit of higher education, she attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and received a Master’s Degree in Professional Studies specifically Paralegal Studies with high honors.

Abstract: 

Essential to survival of businesses today is protection of trademarks on Internet websites. Due to the diversity and worldwide access offered by the Internet, initial interest confusion of potential consumers through invisible manipulation of search engine results constitutes pro se trademark infringement. Use of another’s trademark in metatags and/or keyword banner advertisements causes a change in the order of search engine results thereby diverting potential consumers to a competitor’s website instead of the initial trademark owner’s website. Momentary initial interest confusion divert potential consumers by invisible and behind-the-scene nature of a competitor’s trademark when embedded in the HTML code describing the contents of an Internet website. As a result, competitor’s wrongfully profit from the actual trademark owner’s goodwill and diversion of potential Internet consumers. The possibility that a potential consumer can be diverted to a competitor’s websites is sufficient to establish initial interest confusion. As a result, potential consumers are unknowingly diverted to a competitor’s website due to the momentary initial interest confusion resulting from invisible, behind-the-scenes trademark misuse, thereby constituting prima facie evidence of trademark infringement.

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