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I assume readers are familiar with search engines such as Google and Yahoo.
In addition to the ordinary search results they produce, they also also show sponsored links. This works by allowing advertisers to purchase the right to have their advert displayed when certain keywords are typed into the search engine. For example, a business selling designer goods might choose the keywords “designer goods” and “fashion”.
Louis Vuitton brought a case against Google complaining that adverts for counterfeit items popped up when internet users searched for the company and that this infringed their trademark rights. They wanted to prevent others from being able to use their registered trademarks as a keywords.
The case ended up being referred to the European Court of Justice. The preliminary ruling was that there was no breach.
All very interesting, but what has this got to do with legal costs, I hear you ask?
I recently discovered that a Google search for Gibbs Wyatt Stone produces a sponsored link for an entirely different firm of law costs draftsmen (although I wouldn’t quite describe our services as being those of traditional costs draftsmen). I suppose I should be flattered that our reputation is such that others hope to raise their own profile by association with our name. However, I’m left feeling vaguely used and violated.