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Keyword suit

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

Estee Lauder is suing the Internet search engine Excite, Inc. and The Fragrance Counter, an online discount fragrance retailer, claiming Excite unlawfully "sold" to The Fragrance Counter the exclusive rights to use Lauder's trademarks Estee Lauder, Clinique and Origins as advertising keywords on Excite's search engines. The precedent-setting suit is the first over a keyword purchase, according to Namestake.com, a division of the Quincy, Mass.-based research firm Thomson & Thomson, which is predicting a possible "landslide" in such cases due to the lack of regulations protecting keywords. Monitoring the Internet for abuses of trademarks may be the only option at present to help protect companies. Namestake.com is a free tool that can be used to monitor trademark integrity on search engines. The Lauder suit was filed Jan. 19 in Manhattan federal court

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