Grundfos wins Internet conflict

At the enforcement court of Milan, Grundfos recently won a case in which an Italian competitor used Grundfos’ globally known name and trademark to lead potential Grundfos customers to the competitor’s Web site.

This is an example of an advanced form of parasitism, in which other companies’ trademarks are used in meta tag keywords. Meta tag keywords form part of the html code underlying each Internet page. The words are not immediately visible on the Web page, but search engines such as e.g. Google, Yahoo, etc. read these meta tag keywords, and they therefore determine, to a great extent, what hits you get when searching on words like Grundfos.

The use of meta tag keywords is so technical that it is not something that happens by accident, and the court case in Italy has put a stop to the unauthorised use of the name by a whole string of competitors. However, competitors are not the only parties making unauthorised use of the Grundfos name in order to attract visitors to their sites.

“Grundfos regularly discovers new infringements, also by companies unrelated to the pump industry, but the company has adopted a “zero tolerance” strategy towards anybody infringing its rights. This strategy, combined with the weight of the globally known trademark, is gaining respect on the Internet, and today warning letters are in most cases sufficient to put an end to the practice.”, says General Counsel Christian Hartvig, Grundfos Management A/S