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By Linda Moss
12/4/2006 4:40:00 PM

In a complicated legal tangle, EchoStar Communications and DirecTV are battling in court over the use of search-engine keywords.

DirecTV filed three copyright-infringement lawsuits in California against EchoStar Dish Network retailers over the keyword issue, and it wants to drag EchoStar into one of those cases. In fact, DirecTV is now seeking an injunction against EchoStar in the Golden State.

Charlie Ergen's satellite company, in turn, filed its own suit Nov. 6 against its satellite rival, DirecTV. EchoStar is seeking its own injunction against DirecTV in New York.

The legal tussle all revolves around the legality, or impropriety, of the keywords that companies pay search engines, such as Google, to use to steer consumers to their web sites. DirecTV claimed that EchoStar and some of its retailers are violating its trademark by purchasing rights to keywords similar to, or variations of, "DirecTV." .....

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( The entire article is at the following source: http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6397092.html )
 

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Companies take dispute over Internet search terms to court

By Joyzelle Davis, Rocky Mountain News
December 29, 2006

DirecTV and EchoStar's Dish Network have gone to court in a dispute over the use of Internet search-engine keywords, one of the hottest areas in advertising and murkiest corners of trademark law.

DirecTV last month sent smaller satellite-TV rival EchoStar a letter threatening a trademark infringement suit over EchoStar's practice of buying the keyword DirecTV to trigger the appearance of sponsored links to EchoStar advertisements.

Douglas County-based EchoStar countered by heading to court to seek a ruling declaring that it was in the clear. Buying DirecTV as a keyword is "akin to comparative advertising, which fosters competition and aids consumers in making informed marketplace choices," EchoStar argued in papers filed in New York federal court.

The dispute illustrates the intersection of one of the fastest-growing areas of advertising with the less nimble rule of law. Search advertising will exceed Internet display advertising for the first time this year, according to Jupiter Research, which estimates that the search ad market will double to $11.1 billion in 2011, up from $5.1 billion last year....

... etc ....

The DirecTV and EchoStar case could provide the precedent that the search engine advertisers are looking for, but it appears increasingly unlikely.

According to court papers filed this week by EchoStar attorneys, both parties are close to a settlement and are just "hammering out some of the technical aspects."

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( The entire article is at the following source: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/tech/article/0,2777,DRMN_23910_5243215,00.html )
 
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