Playboy Lawsuit Against Netscape To Proceed

In a decision that could prompt scrutiny of Internet search engines and online advertisers, a federal appeals court Wednesday reinstated a trademark infringement lawsuit by Playboy Enterprises against Netscape Communications.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Chicago-based adult entertainment company could proceed with its case against the Mountain View, California-based Netscape, which used words such as “playboy” and “playmate” in online search engines to link to advertisements for adult-themed rivals. Playboy argued the links tarnished and diluted its brand name by associating its trademarks with inferior products.

Netscape is a division of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN.

The case, originally filed in Los Angeles in 1999, could determine the legal limits of “keying.” The online advertising practice allows advertisers to target individuals who are most likely interested in specific types of products.

For example, a person who types “circular saw” into a Yahoo search engine might see a listing sponsored by Home Depot.

“Playboy” and “playmate” were included in a list of about 400 words that Netscape’s search engine used to identify people who were likely interested in buying adult-themed merchandise. Other words included “sex” and the names of certain body parts. People who typed in those words would receive banner ads for numerous adult-themed sites that were not associated with Playboy.

Playboy is suing Netscape for financial damages “well into the seven figures” and hopes the case will set a precedent, said attorney Barry G. Felder, who represents Playboy.

“There are all types of methods used by search engines and Internet advertisers to sell products, and I believe that the principles established here — that one cannot use trademarks in a confusing way on the Internet — will have an impact on other cases,” Felder said. “We feel very good about what happened today.”

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said the ruling “disappointed” AOL. He said the company, which acquired Netscape in 1999, is “assessing and considering the legal options available.”

No court date has been set.

Source: Associated Press

Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Gaming

Skateboarding legend says ‘Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam’ will appeal to his fans

Tony Hawk's Skate Jam is now available for free on iOS and Android devices, and Digital Trends had the chance to talk to the legendary skater about its development and how it captures the magic of his best games.
Business

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Gaming

Take-Two Interactive takes down another ‘GTA Online’ modder, seeks $150K

Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games have filed a lawsuit against the GTA Online modder behind the software named Elusive. The publisher is continuing its crackdown against GTA Online mods.
Computing

Amazon takes $300 off Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 6 in latest sale

If you're looking for savings on the Surface Pro 6, Amazon is the place to shop. It currently is discounting the Intel Core i7 variant of Microsoft's latest 2-in-1 by $300, though no Type Cover is included.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

Latest Facebook bug exposed up to 6.8 million users’ private photos

An API bug recently left an impact on Facebook users. Though the issue has since been fixed, some of the apps on the platform had a wrongful access to consumers photos for 12 days between September 13 and September 25. 
Computing

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.
Computing

Don't keep typing the same thing -- learn to copy and paste with these shortcuts!

Looking for useful Windows keyboard shortcuts? The most common are the cut, copy, paste and undo shortcuts compatible with all kinds of tasks. They can save you an awful lot of time if you learn how to use them.
Computing

You can now get a Surface Laptop 2 for $800 at the Microsoft Store

Along with deals on other variants, starting configurations of Microsoft's Surface Laptop 2 are now going for $800 online at its retail store, cutting $200 from its usual $1,000 starting price. 
Computing

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.
Computing

HDR monitors are beginning to have an impact. Here are the best you can buy

HDR isn't the most common of PC monitor features and is often charged at a premium, but the list of available options is growing. These are the best HDR monitors you can buy right now.
Computing

You’ll soon be able to scribble all over PDFs on your Chromebook

Chrome OS users may soon be able to doodle all over their PDF documents with the possible addition of a new feature in Chrome OS' PDF viewer. The annotation feature is expected to allow users to hand draw or write over their documents.
Virtual Reality

Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Prices drop, but our favorite stays the same

The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the two big names in the virtual reality arena, but most people can only afford one. Our comparison tells you which is best when you pit the Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive.