Federal court throws out Wisconsin woman's Google lawsuit - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Federal court throws out Wisconsin woman's Google lawsuit

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A federal appeals court has dismissed a Wisconsin woman's lawsuit against Google, which claimed the company was using her name to generate revenue through online advertising.

Beverly Stayart, of Elkhorn, alleged if someone started typing in a Google search for her name, Bev Stayart, the search engine offered "Bev Stayart levitra" as one search option. And she claimed accepting that suggestion led to ads for Levitra and other treatments for erectile dysfunction.

The Janesville Gazette reports the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago threw out the lawsuit, ruling Google had done nothing wrong.

A lower court dismissed the lawsuit in 2011, ruling Stayart's name had no commercial value and that Google receives no value from the connection between her name and sexual-dysfunction medications.

Wisconsin law protects against the unauthorized commercial exploitation of a person's name. But the lower-court judge ruled the connection between the name and the commercial interest has to be substantial, not incidental, and that it wasn't illegal for Google to use someone's name for the purpose of communicating information.

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