Brand Protection Online: Do(n’t) Google Ads Constitute Commercial Use Of A Trademark On Gripe Sites?
It is legal to register a trademarked domain and publish a website on the domain if it is non-commercial in nature–think review sites, gripe sites, fan sites. An example would be Walmartwatch.com, a Wal-Mart gripe site published by Five Stones and The Center for Community and Corporate Ethics.
But what happens when a gripe site publishes Google ads to generate revenue? How can this be considered non-commercial when the unauthorized party is leveraging the IP assets of another entity, in a disparaging way, to generate revenue? There’s a lot of gray here and this is fast becoming an issue for brand protection online.