Trial Scheduled for Indiana’s First Keyword Advertising Case

Indiana’s first keyword advertising case is now set for trial. However, don’t hold your breath if you’re waiting for an answer to whether the purchase and use of a competitor’s trademark in keyword advertising is trademark infringement. The Angie’s List/ServiceMagic trial won’t take place for over a year.

On May 6, a Scheduling Order set a bench trial for October 6, 2014 (at 9:30 AM in Room #216, United States Courthouse, 46 E. Ohio Street, Indianapolis, Indiana before Judge Sarah Evans Barker). A settlement conference was held  between the parties in February 2013 but no settlement was reached. Based on the importance of this question to the parties involved, I expect this case to go to trial, however long that may take.

In the meantime, you can review the Answer to Complaint and Answer to Counterclaims below. Stay tuned for updates.



Angie’s List v. ServiceMagic – Answers and Counterclaims Filed

There are a few updates in Indiana’s first keyword advertising case, Angie’s List v. ServiceMagic. The lawsuit is still in the early stages, with Answers and Counterclaims being filed. An Initial Pretrial Conference is set for 10/12/2012 so stay tuned for updates.

ServiceMagic Answer, Affirmative Defenses and Counterclaims:

Angie’s List Answer to Counterclaims:

Stories from the Week that Was – 7/22/12-7/28/12

Another quiet week spent in Portland, Oregon. Here are the top stories I followed this week:

Jack Daniel’s Sends the Most Polite Cease-and-Desist Letter Ever

The changing landscape of Internet sweepstakes regulations

Pakistan spy agency chief to tell CIA: End drone strikes; ID targets for us to attack

Copyright troll: $10,000 sanctions upheld by appeals court are “bulls**t”

If you’ve got a top intellectual property or technology story from last week, please leave a comment below.

Indiana Court Upholds Social Media Ban for Sex Offenders

A recent ruling from the Southern District of Indiana is making news around the country. Despite a challenge by the ACLU, an Indiana law that bans sex offenders from various social media sites has been upheld. Indiana’s law is similar to laws being challenged in other states. The ACLU has promised an appeal to this ruling, so stay tuned for more.

A national civil rights group said Sunday it would appeal a federal judge’s decision to uphold an Indiana law that bans registered sex offenders from accessing Facebook and other social networking sites used by children.

On Friday, Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said in an 18-page order that the state has a strong interest in protecting children and that the rest of the Internet remains open to those who have been convicted.

“Social networking, chat rooms, and instant messaging programs have effectively created a ‘virtual playground’ for sexual predators to lurk,” Pratt wrote in the ruling, citing a 2006 report by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that found that one in seven youths had received online sexual solicitations and one in three had been exposed to unwanted sexual material online. ABC News

Below are the ruling and original complaint:


Indiana Trademark Litigation Update – Angie’s List v. ServiceMagic

Indiana finally has its own keyword advertising case!

Local internet powerhouse Angie’s List accuses ServiceMagic of using the “Angie’s List” trademark as a keyword in some of its Google AdWords sponsored link advertisements. While several courts around the country have ruled on this issue, in Indiana it is still undetermined whether the purchase and use of a competitor’s trademark in keyword advertising is trademark infringement.

For those unfamiliar with keyword advertising, see the image below. ServiceMagic pays Google to appear in the “Ads related to” box at the top of the search results for the term “Angie’s List,” directly below Angie’s List’s official site. Big companies hate this practice and small competitors love it. Google really loves it, because advertising is where Google gets a big chunk of their revenue. We’ll soon find out what the Southern District of Indiana, via Judge Sarah Evans Barker, thinks about it.

This is no David and Goliath story either. ServiceMagic’s parent company IAC owns many major web products, including, and Vimeo.

Stay tuned for updates as the case proceeds.

Angie’s List Inc. v. Servicemagic Inc.

Court Case Number:    1:12-cv-00755-SEB-TAB
File Date:    Friday, June 01, 2012
Plaintiff:     Angie’s List Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel:     George A. Gasper, Michael A. Wukmer, Bradley M. Stohry of Ice Miller LLP
Defendant:     ServiceMagic Inc.
Cause:    Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, Trade Disparagement, Trademark Dilution, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment, Request for Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief
Court:    Southern District of Indiana
Judge:     Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker

Stories from the Week that Was – 5/27/12-6/2/12

China tightens grip on social media with new rules

TV Networks Say You’re Breaking The Law When You Skip Commercials

Germany sets new solar power record, institute says

Got Compliance? The EU Cookie Law & What You Need to Do

Google Applies for More than 50 New Domains Including .LOL and .YouTube

Target on your cyber back: DHS has a list of words deemed ‘suspicious’

Man sues to have ‘Google’ declared a generic word

Privacy practices: how the FTC MySpace settlement affects your business

2012 Logo Trends

Google Obliges Website Copyright Takedown Requests 97% of the Time

NLRB Issues Third Social Media Report

From David Elliott’s Complaint for Cancellation of Trademark and Declaratory Relief:

“3. The term “GOOGLE” is, or has become, a generic term universally used to describe the action of internet searching with any search engine, which cannot serve as a trademark to the exclusion of others.”

Stories from the Week that Was – 12/25/11-12/31/11

Stories from the Week that Was – 12/25/11-12/31/11

2011 was quite a year. We witnessed intellectual property trump civil liberties time and time again. I’ll continue to archive the most important stories from each week, although I’m no longer certain it’s best for my mental health. Onward and upward (hopefully).

Copyrights Are No Longer About Copies (Part 1): William Patry

Creativity Springs From Careful Copying (Part 2): William Patry

Statement by the President on H.R. 1540 (the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012)

Artists: Can You Be Sued for Including a Real Person in Your Painting?

SOPA is the end of us, say bloggers

Company sues former employee over right to Twitter followers

Scottie Pippie Files Suit Claiming Websites Falsely Labeled Him as Bankrupt; Is Blog Tag Defamatory?

Google+ Censoring Borderline Offensive Profile Images; Author Images in Search Results To Blame?

Stories from the Week that Was – 12/18-12/24/11

Stories from the Week that Was – 12/18-12/24/11

Dear Internet: It’s No Longer OK to Not Know How Congress Works

USPTO gets a new website

In the eyes of the law, are we all public figures on Facebook?

Don’t Break the Internet

“The intellectual property situation is bad and getting worse. To be a programmer, it requires that you understand as much law as you do technology.” – Eric Allman

Stories from the Week that Was – 11/27-12/3/11

Stories from the Week that Was – 11/27-12/3/11

USPTO releases 2011 Performance and Accountability Report

Researcher’s Video Shows Secret Software on Millions of Phones Logging Everything

US judge orders hundreds of sites “de-indexed” from Google, Facebook

Governor Brownback apologizes to Emma Sullivan over Twitter tiff

The Copyright Industry – A Century Of Deceit

Teen Tweeter Won’t Apologize To Kansas Governor

US Senate To Vote On Bill That Will Allow The Military To Arrest Americans On American Soil And Hold Them Indefinitely

“As we’ve seen, our constitutional system requires limits on copyright as a way to assure that copyright holders do not too heavily influence the development and distribution of our culture.” -Lawrence Lessig