In a landmark decision on November 1 1999 (1999:015), Finland's Market Court addressed the unauthorized use on the Web of registered trademarks by using keyword tags in HTML (HyperText Markup Language). The decision is the first in Finland to define some of the legal boundaries of internet marketing, particularly the use of keyword tags in HTML.

The plaintiff in the case, Pfizer Inc, has registered the trademark VIAGRA for its pharmaceutical product designed for the treatment of impotence. The defendant in the case, Eurofood-Link (UK) Ltd, had launched an energy drink to be marketed under the name VIAGRENE. The defendant had included the following words as keyword tags in HTML: beverages, impotence, sex, sexual, stimulus, elderly sex, Viagra, Pfizer, impotence, Damiana, cocktails, vodka, gin, tequila, Bacardi and Smirnoff. The keywords clearly indicated that the defendant had designed its web site in such a way that a person searching for information on Viagra or the treatment of impotence would receive the defendant's web site as a 'hit' from a search engine, even though neither the word 'Viagra' nor the word 'Pfizer' actually appeared on the defendant's site.

The Market Court concluded that the defendant had (i) without approval exploited the registered trademark of the plaintiff in its marketing, and (ii) unlawfully referred to the plaintiff and to its product in connection with the marketing of the defendant's products, thus violating fair business practices.

For further information on this topic please contact Craig Thompson or Kati Maatta at Roschier Holmberg, Attorneys Ltd by telephone (+358 8 551 3300) or by fax (+358 8 551 3320) or by e-mail ([email protected] or [email protected]).

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