9th Cir. Smacks Down AOL’s Advertising.com Trademark as Likely Generic — Advertise.com v. AOL

5 08 2010

[Post by Venkat]

Advertise.com, Inc. v. AOL Advertising, Inc., Case No. 10-55069 (9th Cir; Aug 3, 2010).

The Ninth Circuit handed AOL a preliminary trademark loss, finding that ADVERTISING.COM is likely generic for internet advertising services.

Background: AOL owned trademark registrations for ADVERTISING.COM, and brought trademark claims against Advertise.com. The district court found AOL’s mark to be descriptive (and thus protectable) and granted AOL’s request for an injunction, barring Advertise.com’s use of a confusingly similar design (to AOL’s ADVERTISING.COM) and also enjoining Advertise.com from using the designation and trade name ADVERTISE.COM. Advertise.com appealed the latter portion of the district court’s order.

Discussion: The crux of the appeal – as framed by the Ninth Circuit – was whether AOL’s mark was descriptive, as the district court concluded, or generic. The parties agreed that AOL offered “online advertising” or “internet advertising” services.


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