Buying Keyword Ads on People’s Names Doesn’t Violate Their Publicity Rights–Habush v. Cannon (Forbes Cross-Post)

21 03 2013

By Eric Goldman

Habush v. Cannon, 2013 WL 627251 (Wisc. App. Ct. Feb. 21, 2013)

Can you imagine someone buying Google ($GOOG) AdWords keyword advertising triggered by your name?  Most of us wouldn’t dream of it, usually because our names just aren’t valuable enough for anyone to bother.  In contrast, some professional service providers, such as lawyers and doctors, tout their names in expensive advertising campaigns to consumers—and have competitors who would love to piggyback on that advertising to reach the same consumers.  In a novel and persuasive ruling, a Wisconsin appellate court recent rejected a professional service provider’s attempt to use publicity rights to shut down a competitive keyword advertiser.


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