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Pop-Up Advertisements and Mouse Trapping

Pop-up Advertisements

Pop-up advertisements are used to catch consumer’s attention. A pop-up advertisement is a window not initiated by a user on the user’s computer screen when a site is loaded. A user who clicks on the popup graphic is typically redirected to another website. This type of advertisement has been categorized as the villain of the marketing world.

To date, US cases have generally found that such advertising to be not objectionable: A similar result has been arrived at in the U.K.

Mouse Trapping

Mouse trapping is an aggressive technique used by some website operators that forces users to remain on a specific website by disabling the functionality of their browser or flooding them with pop-up advertisements. Whenever the user tries to leave the site using the back, forward or close buttons on the browser display screen, a new window is automatically opened that prevents the browser from leaving the site. To exit this loop, the user is forced to close the Internet connection or reboot their computer.

In an action brought by the United States Federal Trade Commission, asserting the practice was a deceptive and unfair competitive practice, John Zuccarini was enjoined from diverting or obstructing consumers on the Internet in this fashion. Zuccarini had been registering Internet domain names that were misspellings or versions of legitimate domain names-typo squatting. As a result, once a consumer reached one of his sites, they could not exit it.

If you have questions, please get in touch with me at

Goldman Sloan Nash & Haber LLP 480 University Avenue, Suite 1600 Toronto, Ontario M5G 1V2 Direct Line: (416) 597-3371 Fax: (416) 597-3370 Email:

These comments are of a general nature and not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with a lawyer.

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