Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trademarks and Web Pages

Thanks to Wisconsin Business Law and Litigation Blog for leading me to Secret Trademark Violations. I thought this subject had been decided a while back as being a bed idea. I guess no idea, no matter how bad, ever goes away if it promises some profit.

There has long been debate about whether a competitor’s trademark, when used as a meta tag or is elsewhere hidden on a web page like a subliminal Internet message, constitutes a willful infringement of that competitor’s trademark. A recent First Circuit Court of Appeals decision now says it does (Venture Tape Corp. v. Mcgills Glass Warehouse).

It’s something you might want to let your webmaster and web designer know because “willful” infringement raises the ante considerably. The penalty for violation ranges up to $1 million per violation.

Smart business owners and managers know that trademarks are powerful tools for protecting their brand platform. The smartest ones will use them wisely and fairly. Don’t let a hidden meta tag turn into a huge hidden liability for your company.

My point being that the profit seen probably vanishes somewhere between quick and even quicker when served with a federal summons for a trademark violation.

For those interested (and that should be online businesses and web developers in particular), keep an eye on Wisconsin Business Law and Litigation Blog's WEbsite coding and willful TM infringement wherein is asked the question: What is the simplest way to scan code for these marks?