Competitive Keyword Advertising Lawsuit Survives Motion to Dismiss–Elcometer v. TCQ-USA

24 11 2013

By Eric Goldman

Elcometer, Inc. v. TQC-USA, Inc., 12-cv-14628 (E.D. Mich. April 9, 2013)

The parties compete in the “thickness gauge” industry. The defendants sell the brand “Paintmeter.” Defendants allegedly bought the AdWord keyword on the rival brand “Elcometer” and ran the following ad:

Elcometer Meters & Rentals *
Call 18009742492 We Sell PaintMeters & Rent Coating Inspection Equipment

The plaintiff alleges that potential customers who clicked on the link or called the 800 number were given more information that perpetuated possible confusion about the relationship between Elcometer and Paintmeter.

The court says that the plaintiff properly pled trademark infringement, Lanham Act false advertising and a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, and therefore it denied a motion to dismiss. The court also rejected the manufacturer’s effort to avoid responsibility for its distributors’ conduct.


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