Links & Law - Information about legal aspects of search engines, linking and framing

Hyperlink & Search Engine Law News  Decisions & Court Documents Worldwide Legal Resources (Hyperlink & Search Engine Law Articles) Linking Law Cases Search Engine Law Publications by Dr. Stephan Ott Technical    Background

Update 22: October 3, 2004

1. Novak v. Overture

In Germany it is discussed whether a masthead that can only be reached by clicking on a hyperlink that can first be seen after scrolling a website is compliant with German law (§ 6 TDG). I have also written an article on this topic, discussing a decision by a Munich judge. In the USA the District Court for the Eastern District of New York held that a forum selection clause incorporated into an ISP's terms of use agreement was not unconsciable simply because the computer window allowed the user to view only ten lines of the agreement at a time and the clause's terms appeared more than three hundred lines into the document. In the opinion of the court, there was a full and fair opportunity to read the entire document.

See the text of the decision in the case Novak v. Overture Inc.


2. Buying ads using trademarked terms is ok, German court says!

As reported before Metaspinner brought suit at Hamburg district court in May 2004 alleging trademark infringement by Google’s practice of allowing rival companies to buy ad words using trademarked terms. On September 21, 2004 the court dismissed the suit. The verdict has not been published yet. Links & Law will continue to report about the case.

  • September 21,2004: Richard, Chris, German Court Rejects Google Lawsuit,
    "A court in Hamburg, Germany has thrown out a lawsuit against Google concerning trademark infringement."

  • September 21, 2004: Hamburger Gericht weist Metaspinner-Klage gegen Google zurück, Heise:
    „Das Landgericht Hamburg hat die Klage der metaspinner media GmbH gegen die Suchmaschine Google in einem aktuellen Urteil (AZ. 312 O 324/04) zurückgewiesen.“  

  • September 21, 2004: Prozess gegen Google – Klage abgewiesen,
    “Das Landgericht Hamburg hat heute die Entscheidung über das Klageverfahren der metaspinner media GmbH gegen die Suchmaschine Google, AZ. 312 O 324/04 getroffen.“


3. Googles v. Google 

Stelor Productions, the company that owns and operates, has launched trademark proceedings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office against Google. The complaint alleges that the ubiquitous search engine site is in breach of copyright laws by offering services aimed at children. Stelor also charges that Google's mark is confusingly similar to its own, and is opposing Google's trademark application to cover a "long list of 'Google' goods and services, including children's books, stickers and children's clothing." Googles, which  is mostly concerned with Google's new Froogle price matching service, ultimately wants Google to keep its name away from children's content, merchandise and services.

  • July 7, 2004: Hines, Matt, In name dispute, it's Googles vs. Google, CNet:
    Internet search giant Google is the target of a trademark complaint filed by the owners of children's Web site

  • July 7, 2004: Googles gegen Google, Golem:
    Stelor Productions, Kinderspielzeug-Hersteller und Betreiber der Kinder-Website, hat beim US-Patent- und Markenamt beantragt, dass die Marke "Google" des Suchmaschinenbetreibers Google gelöscht wird.


4. Mixing of editorial and advertising content continues - IntelliTXT is the most prominent of dozens of sites that use IntelliTXT. Vibrant Media describes its product as follows: "Vibrant Media’s patent-pending IntelliTXT technology highlights commercial text links from keywords appearing within pages of online content. Vibrant Media’s proprietary technology automates the analysis and categorization of content, identifies the most appropriate marketing message to deliver and, when activated by the user, dynamically serves advertising messages to the right user at the right time."

Links created by the software  are double underlined green words in text. Ads pop open in very small text windows when your cursor hovers over the green underlined word. Move the cursor away, and the ad window closes. Click in the ad window, and a new browser window opens to take you to the advertiser’s website. Unlike usual banners and pop-ups, these ads are right there in the content of an article. So what happened to "Anything that is an advertisement should be labeled as an advertisement"?

  • August 6, 2004: Werbung im Text,
    " hat nach Angaben der Direct Marketers News testweise mit der Übernahme von Intellitxt-Werbung begonnen. Dabei werden Werbe-Links in den redaktionellen Text eingebettet."

  • August 6, 2004: Terdiman, Daniel, Fark Sells Out. France Surrenders, Wired:
    ", one of the most popular blogs on the Net, has been accused of selling out -- joining a growing list of new-media outfits willing to bend old-media rules."

  • August 4, 2004: Bezahlte Links bei Fark,
    " ist sicher einigen Lesern ein Begriff. Vor allem jenen, die ihren Internet-Zugang nicht nur zum Arbeiten benutzen. Doch Fark könnte nun zum Auslöser für eine eigentlich schon überfällige Diskussion zum Thema "Verquickung von Content und Werbung" werden."


There is also an update of the "Protection of Minors on the Internet and Search Engines in Germany" section:

  • June 11, 2004: Google streicht Nazi-Seite aus dem Suchindex,
    "Auf Initiative des deutschen hat Google die Webseiten des bekennenden Neonazis Gerhard Lauck aus dem Suchindex gestrichen."

  • May 11, 2004: Suchmaschinen in Deutschland bald nicht mehr jugendfrei, Heise:
    "Wolfgang Schulz, Geschäftsführer des Hamburger Hans-Bredow-Instituts, warf am gestrigen Montag auf einer Tagung der Bertelsmann-Stiftung zum Thema "Suchmaschinen als Herausforderung für die Medienpolitik" viele Fragen zur Regulierung von Suchmaschinen auf."

  • May 10, 2004: Mehr Transparenz im Netz: Internet-Suchmaschinen wollen Verhaltenskodex umsetzen, Bertelsmann Stiftung:
    "Vier deutschsprachige Suchmaschinen haben einen entscheidenden Schritt zu mehr Transparenz auf dem Suchmaschinenmarkt getan und werden ihre Arbeit künftig an einen Verhaltenskodex binden: Abacho, Apollo7, crossbot und Sharelook."



The Links & Law website is updated regularily, so  check back for updated information and resources about search engine and linking issues.

You are currently in the archive with older news. A complete list of the updates can be found here!

Latest News - Update 71

Legal trouble for YouTube in Germany

Germany: Employer may google job applicant

EU: Consultation on the E-Commerce-Directive

WIPO Paper on tradmarks and the internet

The ECJ and the AdWords Cases



Masthead/Curriculum Vitae
Copyright © 2002-2008 Dr. Stephan Ott 

All Rights Reserved.