New ruling on advertising keywords

May 1st, 2013
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By Mapula Sedutla

The Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP) has issued a ruling notice on keyword advertising on search engines and the internet.

In the notice, the LSNP states that, in addition to its marketing and advertising rules, it advises members, firms of attorneys and incorporated firms not to make use of the internet or internet search terms, engage in any advertising method, attempt to attract clients by means that can be reasonably considered to refer to, or make use of –

  • the names or surnames of another attorney, firm of attorneys or incorporated practice, unless those names or surnames are reasonably connected to the advertising members;
  • any website name of another attorney, firm or incorporated practice; or
  • any phrase or term that is the trade mark of another attorney, firm of attorneys or incorporated practice.

Members, firms of attorneys and incorporated firms must also cease using any phrase or term when advised in writing that a trade mark application is pending in respect thereof.

Members must ‘immediately desist from’ any of the above transgressions on notice to them by another attorney, firm of attorneys or incorporated practice, or by the LSNP.

Mapula Sedutla, mapula@derebus.org.za

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2013 (May) DR 13.

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