Wisconsin Law Firm Loses “Right to Privacy” Battle Over Use of Internet Key Words

The Court of Appeals in the State of Wisconsin recently dismissed a right to privacy claim filed by one personal injury law firm against a competitor over the competitor’s purchase of the plaintiffs’ names as search engine key words to bring up ads for the competitor’s firm.

In 2009, the two largest personal injury firms in the state became involved in a bitter lawsuit when Cannon & Dunphy paid to have three major Internet search engines display sponsored ads for Cannon whenever users searched for Habush or Rottier. The plaintiff, Habush, Habush & Rottier claimed that Cannon’s purchase of the Habush and Rottier key words violated the right to privacy. However, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Charles Kahn found the practice the modern equivalent of lawyers buying a “Yellow Pages” ad next to other lawyers’ listings. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals affirmed the decision and the Wisconsin Supreme Court declined to opine on the case.

Click here and here to read more about the Wisconsin opinion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *