Keyword ad buys are fine for less expensive products too, court confirms

Lasoff v. Amazon.com, Inc., 2018 WL 3720029, —
Fed.Appx. —-, 2018 WL 3720029, No. 17-35173 (9th Cir. Aug. 6, 2018)
Lasoff sued Amazon and appealed the grant of summary
judgment on his trademark infringement and false advertising claims.  He argued that Amazon infringed Lasoff’s
trademark Ingrass by buying it for keyword ads. 
“Amazon is permitted to use a trademarked search term to direct
consumers to competing products, as long as the search results are clearly
labeled.” There was no evidence of lack of clear labeling.  Lasoff argued that MTM was distinguishable because consumers are more discerning as to
watches than as to artificial turf, the product here. The court disagreed,
making clear that noises about sophistication with respect to the underlying
product have always been makeweight; the real issue is sophistication about
search.  “The question is whether
consumers are confused by the search results, and those results display the
trademarked product names. The display of names in a set of search results is
not made more or less confusing simply because the underlying products might be
watches or turf.”

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