Branded keyword advertising—bidding for your company’s website to feature prominently near a search engine’s results for branded or trademarked terms—has been around for over a decade. But a recent line of cases concerning branded keyword advertising should be of concern to all online vendors.
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The Ninth Circuit will decide whether Great Lakes Reinsurance must defend clothing company, In and Out, against a trademark infringement suit by Forever 21. The dispute focuses on exclusionary language in the general liability policy issued by Great Lakes to In and Out, which broadly bars coverage for claims stemming from violations of intellectual property rights, but which also excepts from the exclusion claims for copyright, trade dress and slogan infringement occurring in the company’s advertisements.
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On August 8, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission sued 1-800 Contacts, alleging that it entered into anticompetitive bidding agreements with 14 of its rivals. According to the administrative complaint, these bidding agreements are an unfair method of competition because they unreasonably restrain competition for bidding on online search advertising auctions and restrict truthful, non-misleading ads. Previously, 1-800 Contacts alleged that its rivals had engaged in trademark infringement by purchasing advertising space from online search engines when consumers searched for “1-800 Contacts.” Most of 1-800 Contacts’ rivals agreed to settle or avoid lawsuits by entering into the allegedly anticompetitive bidding agreements, which prohibit parties from bidding on their rivals’ trademarked terms. Additionally, all but one of the contracts also require the use of “negative keywords,” which will prevent an advertiser’s name from appearing if a rival’s name is used as a search term.

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On June 14, 2016, two partners in Hunton’s Insurance Coverage Counseling and Litigation practice, Syed Ahmad and Jennifer White, published an article in Risk Management Magazine about how commercial general liability policies may help policyholders looking to recover attorney’s fees or fund settlements in trademark infringement litigation.
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Companies across all industries, including retail, are seeing a significant uptick in software audits and similar software license compliance reviews. These audits can disrupt the day-to-day operations of even the most efficient IT departments. However, there are ways to limit exposure to such costly software audits and the associated risks, and to even prevent them from occurring in the first place.
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The en banc US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its opinion today in SCA Hygiene Products Aktiebolag, et al. v. First Quality Baby Products, LLC, et al., Case No. 2013-1564. In a 6-5 decision, the court reaffirmed that laches is a defense to a suit for damages for patent infringement. In reaching this decision, the Federal Circuit distinguished Petrella v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1962 (2014), in which the US Supreme Court held that laches is not a defense to a suit for damages under the Copyright Act.

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This week, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a precedential decision addressing two important patent damages issues: the entire market value rule and the proper application of the Nash Bargaining Solution in VirnetX, Inc. v. Cisco Systems, Inc., No. 13-1489 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 16, 2014). In vacating a $386 million

The Eighth Circuit recently issued an opinion in the Interstate Bakeries Corporation bankruptcy case reversing its previous holding that a perpetual royalty-free trademark license constituted an executory contract that could be assumed or rejected in bankruptcy.  The Eighth Circuit, in a rehearing en banc on its earlier decision in Interstate III2, determined that the contract