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Reed Executive PLC v Reed Business Information Ltd and Reed Elsevier (UK) Ltd. [2004] RPC 767, Ct of Appeal

Case Summary  |  Judgment  |   3 March 2004


Trade marks and the internet - Meta data, search engine optimisation and search keywords - Honest use of own name by company. A dispute between the well known high street employment agency business and the well known Reed Elsevier publishing group about the use of the trade mark REED on the internet primarily in recruitment and job advertising contexts. The Court of Appeal (Jacob LJ) gave important guidance on the law of trade mark infringement and the internet, particularly on "invisible" uses of trade marks such as in "metadata" and on the use of competitors' trade marks in search engines and as keywords to trigger advertisements. The appeal was successful in reversing findings of infringement and passing off against Reed Elsevier on all matters on which they appealed.