Sunday, May 6, 2007

What does the Internet do for trademarks?

Something I am not likely to see any time soon in my practice but an interesting question. The Internet lacks borders so how does the Internet affect trademark law?

e-Commerce Blog writes on the effect the Internet has on trademark use in the post Web use affects trade-marks and how an English court ruled on the issue.

The court reviewed the case law to determine when a trade-mark is in use via the Internet. The court took the position that placing a mark on the Internet from a location outside the U.K. can constitute use of that mark in the U.K. The fundamental question became whether or not the average consumer of the goods or services in issue within the U.K. would regard the advertisement and site as being directed at him.

Due to the fact the YouTube, MySpace and BadBoy sites all were used to advertise and promote Combs' Press Play album and tour -- including his U.K. dates -- the court determined it was a use directed at users in the U.K.

I wrote above that this will not be something that I will see any time soon. Why not? If you, dear reader, are in business consider the extent of your Internet presence. As more clients expand their Internet business, I suspect this problem will be seen more often. I am wondering if trademark searches should include not only the United States Patent and Trademark Office but also foreign sources also.