The Ninth Circuit held today that an internet provender of perfumes violated the Lanham Act by incorporating the "eBay" trademark in its name, PerfumeBay. Perfumebay.com Inc. v. eBay Inc., No. 05-56794 (9th Cir. Nov. 5, 2007).
Huh. Blawgletter confesses that at first we thought eBay would lose this one. PerfumeBay doesn’t look much like eBay to us. But the decision started making sense as we kept reading. eBay sells lots of goods online, and it relies on search engines — especially Google and Yahoo — to return results that direct shoppers to the eBay website. A search for "perfume eBay" produced both "PerfumeBay" and "eBay" — strong evidence that, in the internet context, PerfumeBay would likely confuse consumers into thinking it had an affiliation with eBay.