One of Quandary Peak Research’s experts in web, Internet, and search engine technology recently provided courtroom testimony in a contempt hearing, Golden Best Plumbing, Inc. v. Touni Baghdasarian and Happy Rooter. The Internet expert, Jason Frankovitz, opined on whether the plaintiff’s trade name was being used to market services on the defendant’s Web site in defiance of a previous court order. The matter is case no. BC524978 in the Superior Court of California for the County of Los Angeles.

At issue in the case were particular snippets of computer code, known as HTML tags, that are used by Google, Bing, and other major search engines in determining where to rank pages in the list of results shown for a given query, also known as the “organic” results. For example, HTML tags known as “meta description,” “title,” and “h1” have been verified by Google to play a role in its algorithm that computes the relevance of a page. Moreover, the contents of the meta description tag may appear underneath the link to a site in Google’s search results pages. Including a competitor’s trade name within these tags could be viewed as using the name for marketing purposes.