Don’t like the result of vanity searches? Don’t sue Yahoo

2 09 2009

Internet users who are unhappy with the results when they search for their own names may just have to live with it—at least if they try to argue that the search results are a trademark violation. A US District Court has dismissed a lawsuit against Yahoo in which Beverly Stayart said the company intentionally used her name to produce search results related to porno, sexual dysfunction drugs, and adult dating services. The court said that Stayart’s claims were invalid and barred her from refiling, ruling that Yahoo was protected under the Communications Decency Act.

Stayart had filed her lawsuit against Yahoo in February of this year, alleging that the company had made numerous trademark violations by “misusing” her name in search results. Stayart, a well-educated bank VP and animal protection activist, said in her original complaint that she is the only Beverly (or occasionally “Bev”) Stayart on the Internet, and therefore her name represents a certain professional value. When she searched for her name on Yahoo, however, she was appalled to find results pointing her to online pharmacies advertising Cialis, pages linking to spyware, and a website captioned “HOTTEST DAILY PORN.”

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