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  • A Likelihood of Infringement: The Purchase and Sale of Trademarks as AdWords

    With access to over eighty-six percent of internet users, Google’s flagship advertising program, AdWords, is one of the most powerful resources for internet advertisers, as well as Google’s highest revenue source. However, Google is operating in a gray area of intellectual property law by allowing advertisers to purchase a competitor’s trademarks or service marks (hereinafter collectively referred to as “trademarks”) as keywords and often encouraging this misuse by affirmatively suggesting trademarks as additional keywords to make the advertising more successful. This type of misuse of trademarks is referred to as trademark keying.