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McCarthy Institute Shares Findings on Search Engine Study

April 12, 2011

The McCarthy Institute for Intellectual Property and Technology Law has established the Center for the Empirical Study of Trademark Law (CEST) with projects that include a study of consumers’ understanding of the difference between online search engine results that are unpaid and those that are paid advertisements.

Panelists at the second joint symposium sponsored by the McCarthy Institute and Microsoft Corporation.

Preliminary findings on the center’s study demonstrate that a substantial majority of consumers do not know the difference between paid and unpaid search engine results; that a similar majority wants information and clarity on which results are paid and unpaid; and that a substantial number of consumers state that they would behave differently if results were more clearly labeled as paid advertisements.

This topic and other empirical investigations regarding trademarks and keyword advertising were explored at the second joint symposium sponsored by the McCarthy Institute and Microsoft Corporation. The symposium, titled “Trademark Law and its Challenges in 2011,” took place Feb. 3 in Redmond, Wash.

Event panels considered developments in generic top-level domains, trademark dilution, keyword case law, and trademark enforcement in China.

The conference featured keynote addresses by USF School of Law Senior Professor J. Thomas McCarthy; Horacio Gutierrez, corporate vice president and deputy general counsel for intellectual property and licensing at Microsoft Corporation; and Justice Xiangjuan Kong, chief justice of the Chinese Supreme Court for Intellectual Property.