Utah Passes Dangerous Legislation To Ban Comparative Keyword Advertising

The Utah legislature has quietly passed a dangerous law allowing trademark owners to prevent their marks from being used as keywords to generate comparative ads. If this law takes effect, a company like Chevrolet couldn’t purchase “sponsored link” space on the Google results page when a user types “Toyota” as part of a search query.

It’s not illegal to place a Honda billboard next to a Toyota dealership, so why should it be illegal to place a Honda ad next to a search result for Toyota.com? Advertising to your competition is not “hijacking” – you can’t manipulate Google search results any more than you can place a Toyota sign on your dealership and sell customers Honda’s. Competitors on Google cannot redirect people from Toyota.com to Honda.com – but have the right to market to their competitor’s customers.

Is this law “business friendly,” as the bill’s author claims or just “big-business monopoly friendly”? Email the senator: [email protected]

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