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Trademark Infringement Lawsuit - Playboy vs. Netscape

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated a trademark infringement lawsuit by Playboy Enterprises against Netscape Communications. Playboy accused Nestscape of violating its trademark by selling banner advertisements triggered by the terms "playboy" and "playmate." Playboy argued the links tarnished and diluted its brand name by associating its trademarks with inferior products. The decision reverses a district court ruling that dismissed the suit without a trial in 2000.  A week after the appeals court ruling, the companies have reached a settlement in the case. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed. The agreement puts an end to a case, which has been closely watched in the search engine advertising field.

  • January 29, 2004: Netscape einigt sich mit Playboy, Heise:
    "Der Streit zwischen der AOL-Firma Netscape und dem Erotikanbieter Playboy Enterprises ist beendet."

  • January 23, 2004: Olsen, Stefanie, Netscape, Playboy settle search trademark case, ZDNet:
    "Netscape settled a 5-year-old lawsuit brought by Playboy Enterprises, a week after a federal appeals court ruled that the Web company could be held liable for the unauthorized use of trademarks in search engine ads."

  • January 16, 2004: Playboy wins Net search trademark dispute, ZDNet:
    "A U.S. appeals court ruled on Wednesday that Playboy Enterprises Inc.'s trademark terms "playboy" and "playmate" should be protected even in Internet searches that prompt pop-up advertisements."

  • January 16, 2004: Playboy on top in internet ad dispute,
    "A US appeals court has overturned a ruling that Playboy trade marks may be used by search engines to display specific banner ads without the company’s authorisation."

  • January 16, 2004: Playboy gegen Netscape,
    "Ein US-Bundesgericht hat eine Klage des Entertainment-Konzerns Playboy gegen Netscape wieder aufleben lassen."

  • January 16, 2004: Olsen, Stefanie, Case threatens search engines' use of trademarks, ZDNet:
    "Playboy Enterprises will have its day in court over accusations that search engines sold its trademark as advertising without permission

  • January 15, 2004: Playboy darf doch gegen Suchmaschine klagen, Heise:
    "Der United States District Court for the Central District of California hat eine Klage des US-amerikanischen Erotik-Anbieters Playboy Enterprises gegen Excite und dessen Lizenznehmer Netcape Communications zugelassen."

  • January 15, 2004: Olsen, Stefanie, Web ad trademark law to be retested, CNet:
    "Dealing a potential setback to the Web search advertising market, a federal appeals court has reopened a lawsuit challenging the unauthorized use of trademarks in ads linked to search engine keywords."

  • January 15, 2004: Big Bunny Still Hopping Mad, Wired:  
    "In a decision that could cast scrutiny over Internet search engines and online advertisers, a federal appeals court Wednesday reinstated a trademark infringement lawsuit by Playboy Enterprises against Netscape Communications."

  • September 15, 2000: Playboy-Klage gegen Suchmaschine erneut abgewiesen, Heise: 
    "Wenn Suchmaschinen nach der Eingabe von geschützten Markennamen gezielt Werbebanner Dritter einblenden, verstößt dies nicht gegen das US-Wettbewerbsrecht."



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