Tuesday, June 26, 2012

initial interest confusion lives to lose another day

Eric Goldman nicely covers the recent PissedConsumer ruling holding that, despite the unlikelihood that consumers would expect a website called PissedConsumer to be endorsed by the businesses criticized thereon, the parties have to wade through expensive discovery to reach that result.  One thing the case highlights is that no court has adequately considered the relationship between “initial interest confusion” and comparative advertising, even though the whole point of comparative advertising is to use a consumer’s recognition of the comparator to attract attention to the advertiser’s product—and that’s a good thing!  It is hard for me to understand why competitors’ ads placed on the PissedConsumer page for plaintiff Amerigas would not be protected by precisely that principle.

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