Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Law Firm Uses Competitor's Name as Google Keyword

The Google keyword war was taken to a whole new level when a Wisconsin law firm paid for the name of their competitor as their own keyword.

Now Canon & Dunphy law firm received a civil lawsuit from the owner of the name, the Habush Habush & Rottier Law Office.

What happened was that once you Google “Habush” or “Rottier”, a sponsored link of Canon would appear above the other results.

According to Habush, Canon and Dunphy has violated privacy laws by using the name of their competitor.

Habush claims that under Wisconsin right-to-privacy statute, a name of any living person cannot be used in advertising campaigns without consent.

Cannon acknowledged that they did pay for the keyword but claimed that it was a legal business strategy.

Most would disagree with Cannon though.

A lot of people would side with Habush that the move was very deceptive and misleading.

Besides, that is why businesses register their names to the Secretary of State, so that it will not be used by other entities, especially by competitors.

A business name is also their trademark and is protected by Intellectual property rights law.

The move undermines existing laws that protect the credibility built by the companies for themselves.

And even if it is legal, sometimes there are just lines that you do not cross.

The move was very underhanded and quite frankly, dishonest.

Is that really the image they want to give people? A law firm that is willing to mislead customers to get ahead of the pack.