john_k - 11:59 pm on Mar 26, 2011 (gmt 0)
Google and the non-trademark holding keyword bidder are literally trading on the reputation of another's trademark, leveraging the recognition that the trademark owner's work has earned. Of that there can be no question. For that reason there must be some recourse for the trademark owner.
Should Google be prohibited from allowing non-owners to bid on a trademark? I don't think that is reasonable either.
For any remedy, Google will need to provide trademark holders a method to identify themselves to Google such that Google can verify their trademark right. I don't think it would be reasonable for Google to be expected to automatically identity all trademark keywords.
Once that is done it might be as simple as placing a link above any ads that says "WonderWidget is a trademark of Some Crazy Company" followed on the second line with a link "Go to the Some Crazy Company website."
I had thought of a few other possibilities, but the more I think on this one the more it seems the most appropriate.
All of this of course doesn't begin to get into the issue of the breadth of a trademark right. That is, a trademark normally does not mean that nobody else can use that name on any other product or service. It only applies to similar products/services. Trademarks also usually provide protection within the geographical area that the owner does business. So how Google would manage this aspect of it is a good puzzle.
Of course I am using the trademark keyword "Google" (for which I did not bid) here to refer to any ppc or keyword advertising system[/edit]