Keyword Advertising: Practical Considerations for Advertisers25/09/2017
Keyword advertising has quickly become one of the most commonly used methods of online advertising. However, whether using a third party’s trademarks as keywords in keyword advertisement could potentially lead to liability for trademark infringement or passing off has been a relatively undeveloped area of trademark law.
Recent jurisprudence from British Columbia, in particular, the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Vancouver Community College v. Vancouver Career College (Burnaby) Inc, 2017 BCCA 41, rev’g 2015 BCSC 1470 (Career College) considers this issue in greater detail and provides some guidance on how to mitigate risk of liability for trademark infringement or passing off when using keyword advertising. Based on this decision, advertisers likely need to ensure that sponsored links used in keyword advertising sufficiently distinguish the advertisement from a competitor’s trademark to minimize the risk of liability.