A Law Firms Hijacked Keywords Turn Out to be Privacy Violation

A Law Firms Hijacked Keywords Turn Out to be Privacy Violation

A Wisconsin law firm failed to win reinstatement of a lawsuit that claimed their right to privacy was violated by a competitor’s purchase of advertising search engine keywords. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal of the suit according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s blog. The personal injury law firm Habush Habush & Rottier had filed the suit because Cannon & Dunphy had paid Google, Yahoo, and Bing to display advertisements for Cannon & Dunphy when users searched for “Habush” and “Rottier.” Habush claimed that the purchase of the keywords violated Wisconsin privacy law. The law bans advertisers from using the “name, portrait or picture of any living person” without consent.

The court wrote in its opinion, “Locating an advertisement or business near an established competitor to take advantage of the flow of potential customers or clients to the established business is not a practice the legislature intended to prohibit. Furthermore, we fail to discern a meaningful distinction between competitors simply selecting locations in proximity to each other and using a third party to obtain the same result.”

Habush stated that they are going to seek review with the Wisconsin Supreme Court. This case certainly brings attorney advertising and marketing into the new modern era. Legal issues concerning digital marketing are sure to be seen in the future.

Source: ABAJournal. “Law firm’s hijacked keywords not a privacy violation, appeals court says.” By Debra Cassens Weiss. February 22, 2013.

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