Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Digital Technologies
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Research Handbook on Intellectual Property and Digital Technologies

Edited by Tanya Aplin

This Handbook provides a scholarly and comprehensive account of the multiple converging challenges that digital technologies present for intellectual property (IP) rights, from the perspectives of international, EU and US law. Despite the fast-moving nature of digital technology, this Handbook provides profound reflections on the underlying normative legal dilemmas, identifying future problems and suggesting how digital IP issues should be dealt with in the future.
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Chapter 20: Metatags 'using' third party trade marks on the Internet

David Llewelyn and Prashant Reddy T.


Metatags, which are hidden descriptors inserted in the source code of webpages, were necessary to be tracked by first generation search engines. These search engines were not the most credible because web designers would ‘stuff’ their webpages with favourable metatags. Modern search engines have since evolved and have not used metatags since at least the turn of the century. Nevertheless, there have been several judgments across common law jurisdictions where judges have tackled the issue of whether use of a trademark in the metatags constituted trademark infringement. The conclusions have been varying because metatags are invisible to the average consumer. The jurisprudence that has resulted from these cases raises interesting questions on whether invisible use constitutes ‘use’ for the purposes of trademark law.

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