In today’s Internet economy, search engines play an increasingly important role in helping consumers locate goods and services. However, search engines may also allow unauthorized online retailers to misuse trademarks as keywords and metatags in ways that can boost their placement in search engine results and increase online sales. For instance, a person other than a trademark holder may purchase a trademarked word or phrase as a search engine keyword (keyword misuse), or may insert them as hidden HTML code on webpages (metatag misuse). Where a website that misuses trademarks in this manner then offers the trademarked goods or services for sale online without a license from the original producer, consumers may be deceived as to the source of those goods and services, and the value of the trademark might be diminished.
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