Search and Ye May Find Something Else: Use of Competitors’ Names in Keyword Advertising and Domains

8.2.17

In Vancouver Community College v Vancouver Career College (Burnaby) 2017 BCCA 41, the British Columbia Court of Appeal found that Vancouver Community College (“VCC”) had established the tort of passing off against Vancouver Career College (“Career College”) for using “VCC” and “VCCollege” as part of Career College’s internet presence, overturning the trial judge on each component of passing off and awarding a permanent injunction to restrain Career College from using “VCC” or “VCCollege” to represent itself on the internet, including the domain name “VCCollege.ca” The court also considered for the first time whether or not the use of competitors’ marks in keyword advertising constituted passing off.

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