A lawsuit in Wisconsin is bringing a fresh challenge to the practice of paying for keywords on Google and other search engines to boost one company's link over a rival's.
The practice has occasionally prompted a rival to file legal challenges alleging trademark infringement. Now a Wisconsin law firm is trying a new angle — accusing its competitor of violating privacy laws.
Habush Habush & Rottier is one of Wisconsin's largest law firms, specializing in personal-injury cases. But search for iterations of "Habush" and "Rottier" and a sponsored link for Cannon & Dunphy attorneys often shows up, just above the link for the Habush site.
Habush alleges that Cannon paid for the keywords "Habush" and "Rottier," in effect hijacking the names and reputation of Habush attorneys.
Cannon acknowledged paying for the keywords but denied wrongdoing, saying it was following a clearly legal business strategy.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Milwaukee, where Habush is headquartered. Cannon is based in nearby Brookfield.