No Lanham Act Claim For Environmental Activist

The U.S. Court of Appeals recently held that an environmental activist lacked standing to assert Lanham Act claims against Yahoo! The activist, Beverly Stayart, was upset about what she found when she put her own name into a Yahoo! search. Apparently, her name triggered links to pornographic sites among other sites. Unfortunately for Ms. Stayart, she has no commercial interest in her name. And that’s all the Lanham Act protects. Because Ms. Stayart doesn’t make a buck on the name, she was out of luck. Too bad. Her claims raise some interesting issues about the nature of a search engine’s services.