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Russian Court Rules Keyword Ads Generated by a Web Service Do Not Violate Trademark Rights

Businesses often resort to placing keywords in the html code of a web page, meta tags, or in contextual advertising templates for promoting their products on the internet. And in many cases, rivals successfully recover compensation from competitors who use someone else’s trademark to promote their products. But the use of other people’s trademarks is not always intentional. Recently, a Russian entity proved that there was no infringement of intellectual property rights when a trademark that was similar to another mark had been included in an advertisement by a web service. In this landmark case, the courts of all instances, including the Supreme Court, reaffirmed that key words that are automatically generated in search systems cannot infringe as defined by Russian intellectual property law. The Arbitration Court of the Stavropol region found no violations because the search results were not dependent on the actions of the defendant, were technical, and were not aimed at signifying the goods on the internet.

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