Distr. Court of Arizona 8 maggio 2023, Case 2:21-cv-01540-DG, Lerner & Rowe PC,
v. Brown Engstrand & Shely LLC, et al.:
<<The three relevant screenshots produced by Plaintiff show clear labeling of Defendants’ entry, using Defendants’ name and prominently labelled as an “Ad,” and with no use of Plaintiff’s trademark or confusingly similar language or content.
Reasonably savvy Internet users with a strong incentive to select the right lawyer would not be confused by these clearly labeled ads into believing that Defendants were Plaintiff.
Plaintiff produces no survey evidence showing a likelihood of confusion, and its evidence that, at most, 0.215% of all consumers exposed to Defendants’ ads were in fact confused by them is simply not enough to show a likelihood. Two-tenths of one percent is not an appreciable or significant portion of consumers exposed to Defendants’ keyword-generated ads. Plaintiff does have a strong mark, but no reasonable jury viewing Plaintiff’s thin evidence could find that potential clients viewing Defendants’ clearly labeled ads are likely to be confused into thinking Defendants were in fact Plaintiff.
The 25 irrelevant screenshots produced by Plaintiff – screenshots taken during a time when Defendants’ were not buying Plaintiff’s name as a keyword – reinforce the Court’s conclusion. Each of the irrelevant screenshots was produced by searching for “lerner & rowe,” “lerner rowe,” or a variation of these words. Doc. 68-3.
And even though Defendants had not purchased Plaintiff’s name as a keyword, Defendants’ ads appeared in the search results along with ads for other personal injury law firms.
Google’s algorithm apparently called up similar law firms when a specific law firm was searched for. See, e.g., Doc. 57-6 at 15 (including an ad for azinjuredworker.com), 17 (getlawyersnow.com and palumbowolfe.com), 18 (arjashahlaw.com), 20 (getlawyersnow.com), 22 (hutzler law.com), 28 (larryhparkerphoenix.com). These screenshots show what Internet users find when searching on Google for Lerner & Rowe – ads for a variety of law firms.
As with all searches on Google, the consumer then must scroll through the returns to decide which entries are worth clicking on.
Because Defendants’ entries use their name and are clearly labeled “Ad,” the consumers would know they are seeing an ad for another law firm, as would be true with the other firms seen in the screenshots. The Internet user would then, as the Ninth Circuit has recognized, “skip from site to site, ready to hit the back button whenever they’re not satisfied with a site’s contents.” Toyota Motor Sales, 610 F.3d at 1179. This is not confusion; this is typical Internet searching. And because “the owner of the mark must demonstrate likely confusion, not mere diversion,” Plaintiff has presented insufficient evidence to survive summary judgment. Network Automation, 638 F.3d at 1149>>, P. 19-20.
(notizia e link alla sentenza dal blog del prof. Eric Goldman)