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eBay bans Google Keywords

AuctionBytes article

     
2:30 am on Aug 8, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I got this in a news alert, Hope the link is ok since I imagine it to be of great interest here:

[auctionbytes.com...]

1:32 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Development for eBay, sent a letter to Google on June 5, 2003, along with a list of terms that eBay says are trademarked. Terms on the list include "ebay," "bay," and "auction web sites."

They've got a trademark on "bay" & "auction web sites"?!

"If you do a search on Google for "Gucci" (a trademarked name), eBay's ad shows up."

E-bay figures they're the only ones who can legally make money off of other people's stuff.

1:39 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Uhhh...I somehow don't think that e-Bay is an authorized Gucci vendor. Funny when resellers start thinking they are primary distributors...

Jordan

1:52 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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"If you do a search on Google for "Gucci" (a trademarked name), eBay's ad shows up."

eBay has been bidding on all kinds of designer names for quite some time, in order to drive traffic to the site. If Gucci filed a trademark infringement report to Google AdWords though, I am sure the ad would be removed.

2:16 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I personally think that e-Bay (or anyone else) should be (forcibly) limited to advertising that is immediately related to the services they directly provide, (e.g., for e-Bay: "aution house", "online auction", "electronic auction", "resale", &c).

Seems like a possible case of false advertising otherwise, in that e-Bay is not a primary distributor, and at any given time they might not even be hosting any auctions that have anything to do with the product line (e.g. Gucci).

Perhaps they are in the clear in terms of the legal aspect (I don't know too much about advertising law); but it just seems unethical, and unfair to the real distributors who make a living from selling the products.

Jordan

2:32 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Funny that often those companies that ignore the rules the most, sue other companies for ignoring the same rules. eBay allways has been the king of advertising using really generic terms as well as trademarks ... it's all about money ...

But hey, ebay stopped advertising the selling of used and new dogs 'n cats. :)

2:43 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Actually it is a common practice among trademark holders for some time now that if a trademark holder sends a letter stating that they are the trademark holder of record and wish to have Google cease and desist the sale of their trademarked term to third parties, they will in fact stop selling that term. Do a search for 'Amazon' or 'Edmunds' and you will see no search boxes to the right.

EquityMind

7:11 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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eBay is starting to outgrow their britches.

Maybe someday someone will come along and put the noose to them...but probably not :(

7:43 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I don't see how they could trademark the words
"bay," and "auction web sites"

I doubt eBay has the AUCTION as a patent. If so all of those farmer and used car auctions will be getting letters soon.

8:24 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It would be kind of funny if Mr. Corea were to continue his Adwords campain, only replacing instances of the offending word ("ebay") with something like "five times better than ebay". Then he could qualify on his sites: "five times better than ebay alone." ;)

I'm pretty sure that there is nothing they could do about that (I recall some case of TV advertising in the 80's that set a precedence that advertisers can use the brand names in comparisons (e.g., think of the Clorox vs. Tide commercials, Glad vs. Hefty, Tylynol vs. Advil, &c.)).

Jordan

9:27 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It's virtually impossible to bring a passing off or trademark infrigement against someone for using generic terminology...,

...'Google' and 'eBay' both no problem, 'search engine' and 'auction web site' etc - no chance...the latter two are simply descriptive using common English usage terms - very difficult...

only in my opinion of course...!

;O)

10:16 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'm surprised they haven't trademarked the letter "e" yet.
10:22 pm on Aug 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Actually, the German Telekom company is very close to be successful in trademarking the letter "T".