The district court in the Central District of California dismissed, on the pleadings, Infostream Grp. Inc.’s claim for trademark infringement based on Avid Life Media Inc.’s use of the plaintiff’s trademark as a keyword to trigger ads for the defendant.
Infostream Grp. Inc. v. Avid Life Media Inc., 109 U.S.P.Q.2d 1512 (C.D. Cal. 2013).
Plaintiff’s complaint alleged that defendant’s ads appeared under the heading “ads” to the side of the actual search results. According to the court, plaintiff’s allegations were “self-defeating.” “[I]nternet consumers ‘fully expect to find some sites that aren’t what they imagine based on a glance at the domain name or search engine summary.’” The court held that the defendant’s “mere use of keywords” without more is not likely to cause confusion. In this case, neither the ads themselves nor the domain names of the sites advertised included the plaintiff’s trademarks.