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Got a very important question about ranking for a trademarked phrase? Open to lawsuit?

Discussion in 'Black Hat SEO' started by txhepoker, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. txhepoker

    txhepoker Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Got a very important question about ranking for a trademarked phrase? Open to lawsuit?

    I have a client that was ranking for a trademarked name and had the trademarked name in the meta, keyword, title information. They received a letter from a lawyer and ended up paying 25K as they felt they did not have the cash to fight a lawsuit as the trademark owner.

    So my question is... If I don't have the trademarked name on the site in the usual ranking areas but do tons of offsite-seo can I still be sued. For example, can they look at my anchors on my backlinks and see that I am trying to rank for the trademarked name and thus have grounds for a lawsuit?
     
  2. Moriarty79

    Moriarty79 Junior Member

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    I am not a solicitor but here is my opinion.

    Anyone can sue you for anything. Whether or not they would ultimately win is another question. Do you have enough money to defend yourself properly if sued? Is the trademark owner in this case known for being litigious? Will you make a good amount of money from ranking for that term if you are not sued? You need to do some kind of risk vs reward analysis and decide whether you want to take the chance.

    Ultimately, if the trademark owner can show that you created those links with their tradmark as the anchor, for the purpose of getting people to your site when they are searching for their company, they may decide to take a shot at you. Even if they don't win being sued isn't fun for you.

    My advice would be to speak to a solicitor who specialises in this area of law. I wouldn't trust advice on a forum, including what I have said above!
     
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  3. moonlighsunligh

    moonlighsunligh Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    There isn't as they do not know what an anchor text is, and they do not know if you built the links or somebody else. Anyone has the right to rank for anything, otherwise we shouldn't be here. How can you control who ranks for you? It is the only problem if you pretend your site is an official site of the brand, and you sell replicas of the brand's products.
     
  4. txhepoker

    txhepoker Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Thank you and I totally agree but was curious if anyone went through a similar issue..
     
  5. txhepoker

    txhepoker Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Not replica products at all. It is a marina and my clients rent out boat slips they own. So it's hard to rent something without using the trademarked name of the "location" where they are located...

     
  6. blackberry

    blackberry Power Member

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    A location can be trademarked? I wasnt aware of that!


    Look into fair use laws for where-ever you are. If you put something in the footer like "all trademarks belong to their respective owners", then in my opinion since your crediting the original trademark/copyright owner you should be ok, as you would be able to prove you were only referring to the trademark owner.

    All the same, it would be worth your time to talk to a lawyer.


     
  7. TheRealRazzy

    TheRealRazzy Jr. VIP Jr. VIP

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    It's pretty hard to track where a backlink was placed from.

    So pretty much if you have a Coca Cola alternative and your anchors are Coke, Coca Cola, etc. then I think you should be alright.

    You can always claim that it's someone else placing the links to try and screw you over.
     
  8. ceosam

    ceosam BANNED BANNED

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    I agree with moonlighsunligh don't take it too seriously pal.
     
  9. loclhero

    loclhero Supreme Member

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    Most trademark threads here are different than this one. In most, there is a clear trademark infringement. But what I'm getting is that you're basically doing seo for (for example) Smith Family Boat Rentals.
    Their site might be at smithfamilyboatrentals dot com. And on their site you clearly indicate where they are located. We'll say there are 3 marinas in your general area, "Sandy Beach Marina", "Golden Shores Marina" and "Rock Beach Marina". Your clients are at Rock Beach so you put it on the site. Is this what you're saying? I cannot imagine why the owners or Rock Beach marina would object to one of their clients pushing business to the marina. I wouldn't worry about it at all.
     
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  10. mdsurf

    mdsurf Senior Member

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    If you keep any of their branding/trademark off your site you should be fine. What are they going to say? Get your site off the first page of google for this keyword or we will sue you!

    That being said Moriarity79 brought up some good points. Even if they have no case they can still sue you which would be a bitch for you. I would say if you're remotely concerend about a law suite don't rank for their brand as its probably not worth the hassle
     
  11. txhepoker

    txhepoker Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    This is exactly the scenario... They already got settlement cash from my clients and they are afraid of getting dinged again... However, I do like the idea of is it "you or a competitor" placing the links... That has to be an out..

     
  12. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Just out of interest, is it illegal to use a trademark name on Adwords?
    That's probably the nearest comparison to what you are trying to do, so you might find your answer there.

    I agree that you could dispute who is placing the links, but I think if you went that route you would need to be really thorough- it's obviously a high worth industry so if someone did sue, I'm sure they could take time in procuring evidence that it was you/your clients building the links.
     
  13. Windmill

    Windmill Supreme Member

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    It is illegal to use the trademark name in the ad, but you can choose to advertise for that keyword.
     
  14. davids355

    davids355 Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    By that logic then, if you just happened to rank for the keyword, not a problem, but if you were using the trademark - on or OFF site, in order to rank, illegal.

    Conclusion being that you run the campaign, but use proxy/VPN/cloaking and have it look like the backlinks are coming naturally - which in reality is always your goal (as an SEO provider) anyway!! Just need to be much more covert than usual.