"Meta Tags can lead to Copyright Infringements.” U.S. Courts!

Apr 9, 2008 | 2,006 views | by Navneet Kaushal
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This day has just become a 'legal rodeo' for the Internet with a U.S. Court ruling, that the use of Trademarked terms in Meta Tags can create confusion and therefore can be considered as trademark infringement.

According to Eric Goldman, an 11th circuit, U.S Appeals Court has upheld a verdict delivered by the district court concluding that in the case of North American Medical Corp. v. Axiom Worldwide, the defendant (Axiom Worldwide) was guilty of copyright infringement. Axiom had used NAM's trademarks 'Accu-Spina' and “IDD Therapy” as their keywords for the meta tags.

According to a court document, “Google provided the searcher with a brief description of Axiom's website, and the description included these terms and highlighted them.” This could be the reason that the court was compelled to give the verdict against Axiom.

The main concern that has been circulating in blogs is that, whether the usage of those terms had any effect on the rankings of either website. Since Google has announced that they do not consider meta tags as a factor for page ranking, this could have been used by Axiom as a defense strategy.

With this unfortunate verdict, it's high time that SEOs begin to re-think the use of words and phrases that may be trademarked by other companies or individuals. According to Eric Goldman, there are a few points to be taken into consideration before composing meta tags:

  • Make sure the meta tags descriptions are checked by the legal department of your company so as to avoid any legal implications in the future.
  • Competitive meta tags should always be avoided.
4.thumbnail Meta Tags can lead to Copyright Infringements.” U.S. Courts!

Navneet Kaushal

Navneet Kaushal is the founder and CEO of PageTraffic, an SEO Agency in India with offices in Chicago, Mumbai and London. A leading search strategist, Navneet helps clients maintain an edge in search engines and the online media. Navneet's expertise has established PageTraffic as one of the most awarded and successful search marketing agencies.
4.thumbnail Meta Tags can lead to Copyright Infringements.” U.S. Courts!
4.thumbnail Meta Tags can lead to Copyright Infringements.” U.S. Courts!