initial interest confusion

For more than 20 years, Texas personal injury lawyer Jim Adler has called himself The Texas Hammer® and more recently El Martillo Tejano®.  After spending millions in television, print, and billboard advertising, Jim Adler with his iconic sledgehammer has become one of the most recognizable personal injury attorneys in Texas.

Adler also uses these trademarks in internet advertisements. He purchases Google “keyword ads” using the phrases JIM ADLER, THE HAMMER, TEXAS HAMMER, and EL MARTILLO as search terms. When a consumer performs a Google search using any of these trademarks as a search term, Adler’s advertisements appear.

A legal marketing firm also began purchasing these same phrases as keyword ads so that the firm’s click-to-call ads would appear alongside Adler’s ads.  The click-to-call ads caused the user’s phone to make a call to the firm’s call center rather than visiting the website.  When the firm’s call center answered the telephone, they used a very generic greeting in what Adler claimed was a clever bait-and-switch effort to convince the consumer to engage lawyers referred through the marketing firm and not Adler’s firm.Continue Reading Using an Invisible “Texas Hammer” May Cause Trademark Confusion