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Google AdWords Trademark Suit Continues
engine




msg:3318685
 8:29 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

A US judge refused to dismiss a lawsuit against Google that charges the web search leader's AdWords program abuses trademarks.

In making his decision to allow the case to move forward, US District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled the public has an interest in whether AdWords, the company's popular pay-per-click advertising system, violates US trademark law.

American Blind & Wallpaper Factory, the top US reseller of window blinds, charged in its lawsuit that Google abuses trademarks by allowing rivals of a company to buy ads that appear when consumers search the web for information on that business.

Google AdWords Trademark Suit Continues [management.silicon.com]

 

nadia




msg:3318691
 8:34 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

That mean this law applied for US only , How about other country using trademark for advertisement on adword . Please explain that

Thanks
Nadia

benevolent001




msg:3318717
 8:58 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here is what i know (correct me if am wrong)

If a company has trademark in x country then nobody can use adwords bidding on the name of company in that country x , untill and unless it has been allowed by the company itself

The rule apply to any country , company

[edited by: benevolent001 at 9:16 am (utc) on April 23, 2007]

piatkow




msg:3318730
 9:13 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

So if somebody searches on "Franks Widgets" they are claiming that Google must not show ads for any other advertiser that has bid on the word "Widgets".

Looks like a new variant on cyber squatting. Trade mark a name containing a generic industry term and stop the rest of the industry bidding on searches.

benevolent001




msg:3318734
 9:22 am on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I dont know about copyright laws , but i read on Google adwords help that in US and Canada you can bid on keywords and not for ad text

So what if i use dynamic keyword insertion in ad text i am still able to use keyword i want to , this is what hurting many trademark owners

This might be good read [adwords.blogspot.com] for every one

wheel




msg:3318822
 12:42 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

What's also related is that for generic terms, Google will sometimes display your ads even if you're not bidding on the term. I just got a C&D from someone with a domain so generic they can't trademark it, complaining I was bidding on their domain name. Except I wasn't bidding on their domain name.

A search for 'keyword.com', where 'keyword' is a generic domain name, shows a full slate of advertisers. Of course it's not illegal to do that if the domain owner can't even trademark their domain name, but I can see how they'd be upset. Not sure if I care that they're upset yet.

jam2005




msg:3318895
 2:47 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I wonder what effect this lawsuit will have on the lawsuits that are going to arise from the new "Electronic Trademark" laws that were passed in Utah earlier this year.

jscroft




msg:3318969
 3:52 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I could see preventing an advertiser from bidding on trademarked keywords. What I can't see, though, is forcing all advertisers to add all trademarked terms to their exclusion lists, which is the only thing that would prevent an ad from showing up on a search including a trademarked term. Whatever we may think about the advisability of that kind of stricture, it seems obvious that it would have to be imposed at the network level (i.e. by Google) than by the individual advertiser.

iblaine




msg:3319042
 4:47 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

People have built businesses off the ability to abuse trademarks through adwords. Affiliate networks actively police this activity because affiliate networks are in direct contact with the trademark holder. Google is not in direct contact with the trademark holder but Google is a key part of the process by enabling it to exist and Google benefits when abuse occurs. At the very least, Google should be forced to have the highest standards when it comes to protecting trademark holders. I'm not sure if that's the case today.

limoshawn




msg:3319056
 5:06 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

It seems to me that it would be almost impossible to keep the adwords program running if google was to lose this lawsuit. I wonder if the lawsuit is including the "organic results" as well.
It may come to the point that every advertiser will have to be handpicked and every keyword and ad will have to be run through the legal department. It will be like buying a house, instead of title insurance, the advertiser will have to provide Google with "keyword trademark insurance" that will be purchased from a company that researches keywords to determine if they would be subject to a trademark violation.
I'm off to trademark the term "keyword trademark insurance" ;)

jkwilson78




msg:3319079
 5:35 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

I can see banning the use of Trademarks in ad text because that could definitely confuse people but if an ad is clearly for another company/product containing no reference to the trademark holder then that's a different story.

Until it can be determined with very high accuracy that the intent of a searcher was to only find information on the trademark holder and nothing else when they type in a trademark this argument holds little water with me.

I can't even begin to count the times I have searched on a product or company name with the sole purpose of finding alternatives to their products so I can compare and I'm sure not the only one doing this.

jim2003




msg:3319163
 6:47 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

To me, this is like saying Pizza Hut can't buy an ad on the same page that the yellow page listing for Domino's Pizza exists. Goodness forbid that someone looking for the Domino's phone number sees the Ad for Pizza Hut and changes there mind. Yellow Page trademark abuse must stop now!

Rlilly




msg:3319199
 7:25 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

Fair Use of a trademark should be allowed. It is completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense that Google, Yahoo and MSN do not allow you to use a trademark in a comparative ad: same size, compatible with, equivalent to, cheaper than, when in fact the product you selling is just that.

They are hiding valuable ad from thier viewers. It is also damaging small manufacturers who reply on making compatible products, for example: HP Compatible ink cartriges. Imagine if PC-compatible computers could not have advertised that fact, 25 years ago?

The Search Engines with these policies are by proxy supportng the ANTI-COMPETITIVE nature of multi-national Companies with brand name monopolies.

jam2005




msg:3319336
 9:50 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>To me, this is like saying Pizza Hut can't buy an ad on the same page that the yellow page listing for Domino's Pizza exists.

No, it's more like "Pizza Hut" can't register a listing in the white pages under "Domino's" with Pizza Hut's phone number. This has nothing to do with searches for generic terms like "pizza" and restaurants" - the terms that Pizza Hut & Domino's would be listed under in the yellow pages. This has to do with competitors benefitting off the money that another company has invested in a brand.

jam2005




msg:3319342
 9:57 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

>> The Search Engines with these policies are by proxy supportng the ANTI-COMPETITIVE nature of multi-national Companies with brand name monopolies.

Even the government sees the value in "brand name monopolies." They call them "trademarks" and you can register them and protect them with the government. If you have a good brand that you've spent years (or decades) building, you'd be stupid not to fight to protect the image of the brand.

It's a matter of time before laws are passed that allow companies the same protection of their brand online that they have offline.

Quantam Goose




msg:3319366
 10:10 pm on Apr 23, 2007 (gmt 0)

The trademark law and case history is a mess. The laws were not litigated nor devised with modern day internet search engines in mind. Google is already jumping through hoops enforcing legitimate trademarks - speicifcally to the dis-bebnefit of consumers and no harm to the trademark holder. Try using the leading laptop/desktop name in an ad in any fashion. In our case, we simpy want to inform the public that we perform appraisals on that line of equipment. BUT, under google's enforcement of "#*$!XX'S" unreasonable trademark request it is almost impossible to craft an ad that a normal human being can understand that does not have the word "#*$!X" in it.

And of course most people here have run into trademark violations on terms that are both manufacturer trademarked and purely generic. Again, the entire area is a legal swamp, probably one that can only be remedied by congressional action.

jkwilson78




msg:3319955
 1:46 pm on Apr 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

American Blind will not win their case because I do not think they can prove with any certainty that they have been harmed specifically from competitors bidding on their brand and the fact that they cannot prove user intent when searching on their brand.

Is a searcher looking exclusively for information about the trademark holder when searching on the trademark?

Is a searcher looking for alternatives to the trademark holder when searching?

Is a searcher actively looking to buy the type of product sold by the trademark holder and merely starts their search with the company they are most familiar with?

It's all of the above and more.

It's called a search engine for a reason.

Does anyone have any statistical "before and after" eveidence showing that after successfully getting a competitor to stop bidding on your trademark that sales went up or down?

There could also be an argument that choice and competition could actually help performance on your trademark term because your product, brand and reputaion reaffirm to consumers that your product offering is the best choice.

RhinoFish




msg:3320005
 2:35 pm on Apr 24, 2007 (gmt 0)

>>>>To me, this is like saying Pizza Hut can't buy an ad on the same page that the yellow page listing for Domino's Pizza exists.

>>No, it's more like "Pizza Hut" can't register a listing in the white pages under "Domino's" with Pizza Hut's phone number. This has nothing to do with searches for generic terms like "pizza" and restaurants" - the terms that Pizza Hut & Domino's would be listed under in the yellow pages. This has to do with competitors benefitting off the money that another company has invested in a brand.

to me, it is neither the yellow or white pages. but if I could ask the phone book to show me things it has listed anywhere in its database that are relevant to the phrase "pizza hut"... i would expect pizza hut itself to be listed first (which it is at G), then i'd expect other closely relevant terms to follow.

to declare the present situation as harmful to trademarks is to also simultaneously declare the consumer has no right to search a database by relevancy algorithms (when they include any tm terms). a decision such as that would have far reaching implications that go way beyond G's serps.

what should G return for these searches:
pizza hut coupon
pizza hut versus domino's
ingredients used by pizza hut
city health inspection results for pizza hut
pizza hut alternatives
sell my pizza hut franchise
pizza hut lawsuits

if pizza hut (or american blinds) wants some protection when people type in pizzahut.com, they already have it (see serps).

the impact on the consumer, of fair use, is not negligible or irrelevant.

meanwhile, adware and spyware can specifically target visitors on the pizzahut.com website, and the courts and congress do nothing...

if you want an analogy, think of the physical world... if you're standing inside a pizza hut restaurant, adware players (like zango) can put a billboard for dominos right in front of the menu the customer is reading - and congress sits idly by... but the courts are concerned with people who are looking up information about specific pizza restaurants from databases they can access from their homes... our priorities are upside down.

concerning american blinds, their web address is decoratetoday.com. search g for "decorate today"... that term is something a consumer might type in to search for something completely unrelated to that domain name... yet G shows only ppc for the AB folks... seems they already have stifled G and have gotten what they want... push it farther and the level of impact to the consumer will be too much.

Realbrisk




msg:3325231
 7:50 am on Apr 29, 2007 (gmt 0)

Bidding on a competitors name is no different then typosquatters.

While bidding on an competitor's product is just competition.

We are a mailing order company.
And many times we get calls from some customers to track an order,
when told that there is no order in the sys, the customer would quote something
"like i don't know typed in you name and clicked on the first result"

I would call that a definite lose of business.

Plus an added overhead to clear up the customer, and believe me when you deal with the older crowd it can take some time to clear it up .

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