Online retailer 1-800-Contacts has sued a rival company over that rival's purchase of an online search term that cuts a bit close to home, reports MediaPost.
The suit was filed in a Utah court against LensWorld over its purchase of "1-800-contacts" as a keyword triggering a LensWorld search ad.
1-800-Contacts is arguing that the use of its name to bring up a LensWorld ad could create confusion in the mind of the consumer that the two companies are related.
Previous court rulings have rejected that argument. However, the main related case was brought by Geico against Google for having sold the keyword - and not against the competitor for buying it. That difference could change the outcome of the present suit.
A court ruling that forbids buying a competitor's trademarked terms could significantly impact search advertising, since companies often do just that, driving up the cost of those keywords when the actual trademark holder wants to buy it as well.