homepage Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 54.227.67.210
register, free tools, login, search, subscribe, help, library, announcements, recent posts, open posts,
Pubcon Platinum Sponsor 2014
Home / Forums Index / Google / Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues
Forum Library, Charter, Moderators: goodroi

Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues Forum

This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >     
Google Sued by American Airlines Over Keyword Triggered Ads
engine




msg:3424967
 6:13 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

American Airlines Inc. yesterday filed a lawsuit against Google Inc., claiming the search company is infringing on the airline's trademarks by using them as keyword triggers for paid advertisements by other companies.

By bringing the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, American wants to stop competitors from using those trademarks to trigger their own advertising on Google.

"Without authorization or approval from American Airlines, Google has sold to third parties the 'right' to use the trademarks and service marks of American Airlines or words, phrases, or terms confusingly similar to those marks as 'keyword' triggers that cause paid advertisements, which Google calls 'Sponsored Links' to appear alongside the 'natural results," the lawsuit said.

Google Sued by American Airlines Over Keyword Triggered Ads [computerworld.com]

 

pageoneresults




msg:3424976
 6:18 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Goldman questioned whether American has ever bought third-party trademarks as keywords. "I'd be surprised if American Airlines has run a completely clean shop," he said. "Finally, it's not in Google's nature to retaliate this way, but I wonder what would happen if Google decided to cut off keyword advertising for American Airlines."

Whew, the companies are just lining up to file lawsuits against Google. How big is Google's legal team anyway?

Goldman questioned whether American has ever bought third-party trademarks as keywords. "I'd be surprised if American Airlines has run a completely clean shop," he said. "Finally, it's not in Google's nature to retaliate this way, but I wonder what would happen if Google decided to cut off keyword advertising for American Airlines."

Oh-oh, that "could" happen you know. ;)

hannamyluv




msg:3424998
 6:38 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Well, I think American Airlines has a problem. Their "trademarked search term" could also be considered generic. Kind of like when people are lookimg for american (based) airlines, french airlines, engilsh airlines, etc.

observer 24 7




msg:3424999
 6:38 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Is American Airlines objecting to the google ads which are shown above the search results (which look like genuine results to novice users), or are they worried about the ads which are displayed on the right panel?

If google was a junk search engine and when one searched for american airlines and google's search result displayed americawest airlines' listing as the #1 result, would American airlines go ahead and sue Google too?

WiseWebDude




msg:3425002
 6:41 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Pathetic. American Airlines cannot even get a darn plane off the ground, in time, because they are suing a search engine, sheesh. That is true about the generic term of american airlines as compared to American Airlines...I think AA will lose, IMHO.

rarethings55




msg:3425005
 6:47 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Wasn't there a similar case like this that google won?

europeforvisitors




msg:3425007
 6:50 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Next chapter: American Airlines sues Alcoholics Anonymous for calling itself "A.A."

pageoneresults




msg:3425021
 6:57 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Yup, I believe Playboy was one of the bigger ones?

2004 April 13 - CNet
Google plans trademark gambit
[news.com.com...]

Google's policy on trademarked names changed in 2004. At that time, the experts warned about future repercussions. What a waste of millions if not billions of dollars. The statement below is pretty much Google declaring war on Trademark holders.

From Google SEC Filings...
[sec.gov...]

In order to provide users with more useful ads, we have recently revised our trademark policy in the U.S. and Canada. Under our new policy, we no longer disable ads due to selection by our advertisers of trademarks as keyword triggers for the ads. As a result of this change in policy, we may be subject to more trademark infringement lawsuits. Defending these lawsuits could take time and resources. Adverse results in these lawsuits may result in, or even compel, a change in this practice which could result in a loss of revenue for us, which could harm our business.

Some past topics where Google have lost the battle...

Google ruled against in AdWords trade mark case - Geico
[webmasterworld.com...]

Google loses to Vuitton in trademark case
[webmasterworld.com...]

If you follow what is going on closely, its a cat and mouse game. I'm sure there is much more money to be made running those trademarked terms. The lawsuits are just part of doing business. And the way the above reads from the SEC Filings, it's like, "Dear Investors, we want to let you know that what we are doing may not be legal but, we will continue to do it and make money for you. We just want you, our Investors, to know that it may not last long." :)

[edited by: pageoneresults at 7:13 pm (utc) on Aug. 17, 2007]

TinkyWinky




msg:3425025
 6:59 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Hey whatever the merits - it might just bring G to take a closer look at their policies.

Allowing people to advertise against a brand until someone complains is great for G revenue-wise... cos they make millions out of affiliates who want to make bucks of dozy companies.

Doesn't make it right though!

ytswy




msg:3425041
 7:28 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

When a user performs a search on Google's site for the words "American Airlines" to search for flights on American, the user may be redirected to the Web site of a competing airline, a Web site that sells American Airlines travel services or the services of other airlines, or Web sites that have nothing to do with air travel at all, according to the lawsuit.

Can they really expect to be able to extend their trademark to cover such generic searches?

JS_Harris




msg:3425061
 7:53 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

I agree with American Airlines. I wouldn't authorize Google to show ads for competing airlines just because a competitor decided to include the keyword "American Airlines" as a target keyword.

"American Airlines" is trademarked and protected wether anyone thinks its generic or not. This will be interesting.

AussieWebmaster




msg:3425072
 7:58 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Any there are no other airlines in America?

SanDiego Art




msg:3425104
 8:25 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Both links pageoneresults refers to aren't actually Google "losing". The Geico case, the judge ruled that having the trademark in the Headline, or Description of the ad was a violation - not simply bidding on the term -- Which is what AA is suing for now.

The LV case was counterfeit merchants saying they had authentic LV products, and selling them as real. They had no real LV inventory to sell.

In the AA case, this would prevent OTA's such as Orbitz, Expedia and others to not be able to bid on the "products" they sell, even though they clearly sell AA airfares. This isn't the same as Pepsi bidding on Coke, or Burger King bidding on McDonalds.

While Delta, certaintly shouldn't be able to use AA trademarks in ad copy as it would be confusing, what possible confusion is there from an online travel agency (OTA) who is a reseller of a trademarked term? And why shouldn't Delta be able to bid, but not use trademarks in ad copy to present the user with related alternatives.

If users were really "confused" they wouldn't be buying from the alternatives and AA wouldn't have a problem because all other advertisers would be wasting their money on non-converting traffic. But in reality a certain percentage of searches ARE converting on these "alternatives" so confusion really isn't a part of it. Its all about profit...

rehabguy




msg:3425116
 8:37 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's an idea...

Google could deliver the top spot at no cost to trademark holders for their trademarked terms, with a label:

"Official trademark holder of term: [query]"

This would only occur when someone searches a proper name with capitalized letters.

For example: "American Airlines" triggers the featured listing, "american airlines" does not. Same with "Windows" vs. "windows".

Google already does something similar when you type in a phone number - why don't they do this for trademark holders as well?

[edited by: encyclo at 1:11 am (utc) on Aug. 21, 2007]
[edit reason] no specifics please [/edit]

ember




msg:3425164
 9:58 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

We've tried using trademark names in ours ads and Google will not let us. Why can some get away with doing that but we can't?

jdMorgan




msg:3425171
 10:15 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

When a user performs a search on Google's site for the words "American Airlines" to search for flights on American, the user may be redirected to the Web site of a competing airline, a Web site that sells American Airlines travel services or the services of other airlines, or Web sites that have nothing to do with air travel at all, according to the lawsuit.

Redirected? I don't think so. AA had better watch their terminology or they'll lose on technical grounds. The searcher has to click on the ad; There may be subsequent redirection involved, but Google doesn't control that any more than they control the user's mouse. Their wording makes it seem that the user is a passive participant in the process.

Jim

phranque




msg:3425173
 10:22 pm on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

We've tried using trademark names in ours ads and Google will not let us. Why can some get away with doing that but we can't?

google does not allow unauthorized trademark usage in ad text.
however they do allow north americans to bid on trademarked search terms.

hannamyluv




msg:3425295
 3:20 am on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

trademarked and protected wether anyone thinks its generic or not

If a term is deemed generic, it can't be trademarked or defended as a trademark, even if it was once a branded term. Hence Kleenex can no longer sue over the use of it's name in normal circumstances and why Google is fighting so hard against journalists useing their name as a verb meaning to search the web.

In most offline scenarios, American Airlines would have a case, but in a search enviroment, the term is genaric.

icedout




msg:3425297
 3:32 am on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think it's a very legitimate concern. When I invest money in a brand name I don't want others simply using the searches I have paid to generate to sell a competing products.

europeforvisitors




msg:3425557
 3:17 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

In most offline scenarios, American Airlines would have a case, but in a search enviroment, the term is genaric.

And it isn't just in search. A newspaper headline that read "AMERICAN AIRLINES FACING BANKRUPTCY" could be interpreted in two ways, one of which would cause alarm in AA's investor-relations department.

Maybe American should just change its name. :-)

jecasc




msg:3425594
 4:42 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

American Airlines would not be the first company to go into court because of alleged trademark infringement and loose its trademark protection completely because the court found that as a generic term the company name was not protectable.

I think something like that happened to the German Yellow Pages (Gelbe Seiten) a few years ago when they went to court against another company called "Go Yellow".

And Sony lost its trademark for "Walkman" in Austria like that.

qwik




msg:3425722
 8:52 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)


If I remember, in the Geico case the judge ruled that merely displaying a competitors ad next to search listings generated by using a trademarked search query does not in itself cause consumer confusion or harm the trademark holder.

In the yellow pages (Our offline search engine) this type of thing isnt (to my knowledge) an issue. Look up Pizza Hut and see how many other ads there are for Pizza.

I would like to see these trademark holders prove that a user searching for a trademarked term is intending only to find the company's website related to that trademark. My opinion is that this is quite infrequent. I just bought my wife a new keyboard. I searched for the make and model. The Yamaha website was not what I was looking for. Reviews and comparisons to other models as well as pricing information is what I was looking for.

If you cant prove that a user is intending to find the website owned by a trademark holder when a trademark is used in a search query, how can you prove that a consumer is being confused?

AA should spend more time improving their business instead of trying to get cheap PR.

BillyS




msg:3425798
 1:03 am on Aug 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

American Airlines is at the top of the serps for their own name, clearly if someone is clicking an add they are NOT looking for that particular company.

This stuff is ridiculous and I hope this sets the trademark industry on its head because the terms they allow companies to trademark are just plain silly.

stroudtx




msg:3425854
 4:10 am on Aug 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hope they win. How would like you competitors bidding on your company name. We don't.

You work hard to earn customers and they google your company name to come back.

I think your competitors should play by the rules and earn customers the good old fashion way. No short cuts allowed.

jecasc




msg:3425918
 7:33 am on Aug 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hope they win. How would like you competitors bidding on your company name. We don't.

And how would you like if a company calls itself American Widgets and sues you because you are a widget seller in America and try to sell to people searching for american widgets.

Habtom




msg:3425924
 7:45 am on Aug 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

If this is the case, I have a site widgetstodestination.com and I see advertisers all the time advertising it as Widgets To Destination (infact almost everyone who advertises), can I complain to google regarding this?

In short, whom can I sue? :)

smartpc




msg:3425925
 7:56 am on Aug 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

This is going on years....

Emm wonder if there sueing for the search results after this....

europeforvisitors




msg:3426102
 3:13 pm on Aug 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

Something else to consider:

According to Google's explanation of its policy on trademarks in ads outside North America, a phrase like "Nike shoes" may trigger an ad for a competitive product or a merchant because the advertiser has bought the keyword "shoes." This may give the wrong impression that the trademarked keyword ("Nike") triggered the ad. The same thing obviously could be happening with searches for "[American] airlines."

Wlauzon




msg:3426249
 7:31 pm on Aug 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

I hope they win. How would like you competitors bidding on your company name. We don't.

And how would you like it if you are a seller or distributor for 3000 brand names and you cannot use any of those names as keywords?

This is a stupid lawsuit, and I predict that AA will lose big time on it.

And if I have a site that rates all airlines in America, does that mean I cannot use the key words American and Airlines? I don't think so...

Brianji




msg:3426455
 2:56 am on Aug 20, 2007 (gmt 0)

HAHAHA some broke company is going to sue the google empire thats a joke , and if it was not for google they would not get half the business they do, if i was head of google i would take every thing off of my search that relates to AA and see if they are going to sue them now! google can do what they want when they want cuz if it was not for google we woulden't be where we are today.

This 42 message thread spans 2 pages: 42 ( [1] 2 > >
Global Options:
 top home search open messages active posts  
 

Home / Forums Index / Google / Google Finance, Govt, Policy and Business Issues
rss feed

All trademarks and copyrights held by respective owners. Member comments are owned by the poster.
Home ¦ Free Tools ¦ Terms of Service ¦ Privacy Policy ¦ Report Problem ¦ About ¦ Library ¦ Newsletter
WebmasterWorld is a Developer Shed Community owned by Jim Boykin.
© Webmaster World 1996-2014 all rights reserved