March 2018

AdWords Ad Illegal If Competitor Products Found On Landing Page

Sports Apparel/Accessories maker Ortlieb brought suit against an eCommerce site that allegedly misused the Ortlieb name to drive traffic to the eCommerce site. The eCommerce site ran the following AdWords ad:

Ortlieb bike bag
(…) Rating on Amazon
Giant selection of sporting goods
Free delivery available

However, when clicking through the ad, the landing page displayed bike bags from other manufacturers along with Ortlieb bags. The lower court ruled in favor of Ortlieb. Defendants appealed.

The high court in München ruled using the Ortleib trademark to drive sales of competitor products was a misappropriation of Ortlieb’s IP. The court ordered the eCommerce site to cease the ads, under penalty of €250,000 per violation and 6 months in jail. The court awarded Ortlieb $4,841.34, and order defendants to pay court costs.
jbho: a reminder the exercise caution in selecting your advertising keywords. Unlike a recent ruling in Schleswig-Holstein, where it appeared dynamic keywords caused (unintended?) word mark misappropriation, here the ads explicitly used the Ortlieb name.

The take-away: if you knowingly configure AdWords to spoof or misrepresent a company’s word mark, you are liable.

October 2017

Automobile License Plate Is Personal Information

The regional appellate court in Münster affirmed a ruling requiring the driver-rating site to redesign the site.
The site allowed any anonymous user to enter a license plate number, and get a group-sourced traffic light report on the perceived driving ability of a vehicle’s pilot. The order affirms a decision of the lower court to requiring that only a driver can see his/her ratings, and the person must have registered at the site for the purpose of seeing those ratings. Anonymous viewing of any driver profile is prohibited, as that constitutes a violation of the Bundesdatenschutzgesetz.
jbho: the ever-evolving definition of personal information…
February 2017

You Can’t Spell Idiot Without IoT

The Bundesnetzagentur has ordered connected toy ‘My Friend Cayla’ be pulled from the market due to privacy and security concerns.

There is a particular danger in toys being used as surveillance devices: Anything the child says or other people’s conversations can be recorded and transmitted without the parents’ knowledge. A company could also use the toy to advertise directly to the child or the parents. Moreover, if the manufacturer has not adequately protected the wireless connection (such as Bluetooth), the toy can be used by anyone in the vicinity to listen in on conversations undetected.”

The Bundesnetzagentur plans to investigate similar connected toys. No action is planned against parents.;jsessionid=59C180A048F92ABCD7A10D295F9835F7?__blob=publicationFile&v=2
jbho: wenn Sie kein Deutsch können, here is an English summary, along with the BBC video that shows reporters interacting with a hacked doll that seems to have kicked off this whole craze.

More interesting developments in Deutschland:

Note: links to source material will be in the original language. For those of you who don’t speak German – learn! :o)

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