The Internet has created new challenges to trademark infringement laws. Not only is theInternet used as a medium to copy trademark names, logos and website designs, but it is alsoused to funnel fraudulent schemes where customers are being tricked into divesting personalinformation through the use of reproduced trademarks.The main form of trademark infringement discussed in this paper is through the misuse of meta tags. These are HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) codes in the form of keywords or website summaries that a website owner uses to describe the content of their website, which areoften hidden or embedded.
If an internet surfer does not know a company'sexact websiteaddress, they enter keywords into a search engine that they think will assist them to find thewebsite. Search engines generally rank search results by relevance according to the number of times a keyword appears on the website or in its hidden meta tags.
The more often a term or trademark appears in the meta tags, the more likely it is that the website will be a result of a websearch, and the higher on the list of matching results will the website appear.
Many websiteowners are misusing meta tags to attract Internet traffic to their websites by using company tradenames and trademarks as meta tags for their own website. Competitors mislead customers totheir websites and dishonestly profit from it through misdirected sales and public exposure. Notonly do they embed meta tags in their website to enhance search engine results, but they can also
Movado Group Inc. v. Matagorda Ventures, Inc., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18196, 5 n.4 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) (citingBrookfield Communications, Inc. v. W. Coast Entm’t Corp., 174 F.3d 1036 (9
Cir. 1999)); Roberts-Gordon, LLC v.Superior Radiant Products, Ltd., 85 F. Supp. 2d 202, 206 (W.D.N.Y. 2000).
Movado Group Inc. v. Matagorda Ventures, Inc., 2000 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18196, 5 n.4 (S.D.N.Y. 2000) (citingBrookfield v. W. Coast Entm’t Corp., 174 F.3d 1036 (9
Cir. 1999)); Roberts-Gordon, LLC v. Superior RadiantProducts, Ltd., 85 F. Supp. 2d 202, 206 (W.D.N.Y. 2000) [defining ‘meta tags’].