Lawyers slug it out over Google adwords

Posted by Nigel Constantine

Habush Habush & Rottier is one of Wisconsin's largest law firms which specializes in personal-injury cases. The legal eagles became a little miffed when a search for iterations of "Habush" and "Rottier" showed a sponsored link for rivals Cannon & Dunphy attorneys above the link for the HH&R site.

Habush thinks that Cannon paid for the keywords "Habush" and "Rottier," in effect hijacking the names and reputation of Habush attorneys. Cannon admits that it paid for the keywords but said that it was all legal and above board.

In response, Habush has decided to use a new legal tactic which involves the state's right-to-privacy laws which prohibit the use of any living person's name for advertising purposes without the person's consent.

Of course there is also the usual amusing name-calling in which highly-trained lawyers seem to specialize and without which no legal tussle would be complete.

Robert Habush said of Cannon's strategy said "... if Bill Cannon thinks this is a correct way to do business he needs to have his moral compass taken to the repair shop."

We are not sure how you repair a moral compass, but we suspect it requires more than WD40.

William Cannon, the founding partner of Cannon & Dunphy, spat back saying that Habush was free to do the same thing if he "… weren't too cheap to bid on his own name."

Other legal experts don't fancy Habush's chances. Ryan Calo, a fellow at the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School told Associated Press that the statute seemingly was meant to protect people from having their names and images misused to suggest they endorse or represent something.

That's not the case here, says Calo.