Keyword banner advertising is a form of targeted online marketing practice whereby a banner ad is displayed on a search engine results page. The banner ad is triggered by the keyword used in the search. Many search enginges sell trademarks as keywords for the purpose of displaying their own advertising. Some have argued that this practice should lead to liability for trademark infringement or dilution. Given the realities of online marketing and the underlying policies of trademark law, this is unlikely. Rather, this practice should be regarded as trademark fair use and treated as a form of lawful comparative advertising.
Kurt M. Saunders,
Confusion is the Key: A Trademark Law Analysis of Keyword Banner Advertising,
71 Fordham L. Rev. 543
Available at: http://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/flr/vol71/iss2/4