Jan 222010
 
 January 22, 2010  Court, Online

Lisa Buchmeier reports:

Yahoo! links ads for an erectile dysfunction drug to a Wisconsin genealogist and Native American historian, violating her privacy and making it appear that she endorses the drug, the woman claims in Federal Court. Bev Stayart claims the bogus link to Levitra ads damaged her “positive and wholesome image.”

Stayart, who has a master’s degree from the University of Chicago, researches the history of the Siouan people and regularly contributes articles to saponitown.com, where her “scholarly posts” have had 20,000 hits over the past 4 years, according to her complaint.

She is also an avid animal rights activist and a poet and was vice president of an unnamed financial institution in Chicago, according to the complaint. She claims that her accomplishments give her name “commercial value.”

She says a recent search of her name on Yahoo! generated 1,630 hits – all of them linked to Levitra, which she says falsely implies that she endorses the product.

[…]

Stayart filed a similar trademark lawsuit in Milwaukee last year, listing Alta Vista and FriendFinder.com as additional defendants. She said their search engines were also producing links that associated her name with male sexual dysfunction drugs, as well as an online pharmacy and a dating service, and that pornographic images were being generated.

That case was thrown out for failure to state a claim. The judge found that Stayart was not using her name in commerce in that particular field and there was little likelihood of confusion between her name and the ads.

Read more on Courthouse News. A copy of the complaint can be found here (pdf).

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