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A US district court has ruled against Google in a trade mark action over the sale of the terms “Geico” and “Geico Direct” in AdWords, its keyword advertising service. The judge found that there was infringement where the terms were used in the text of sponsored ads.
Words to live by...
aren't the ads checked manually by Google? if so, Google is responsible directly. The other party too, but Google approved it, and Geico can stop all by suing one party (Google, Yahoo etc).
If Brett approves all of our comments, he is responsible, otherwise, he just has to remove them when asked by the person who was damaged by the post.
This is a basic trademark issue. The current result is "Can bid on trademarked terms but can't use them in your ad copy". Not too bad.
I wonder what the impact will be on all of those sites that sell toys and stuff, whose ads read something like "Buy Barbie Dolls" and "Get your John Deere tractor here".
The basics of trademark retention involve aggressively protecting the trademark from infringement or losing the trademark altogether.
Can one company let advertisers use their trademarks in the ad text without diluting their claim to their trademark while others refuse to allow it? Where's the line? Is there any line?
Whoever is upset with whoever, why doesn't a) google take geico off it's search or b) geico robot.txt out google? They could each be a thorn in each others sides if they really wanted.
For that matter, why doesn't MSN just remove Google from it's listings and vice versa. People being forced to use multiple search engines to find what their looking for sure would benefit webmasters.
But, if you start trading on someone else's name, especially a brand name, to compete against them, then that use is not fair.
So, if a newspaper starts a Google-type program (as Quigo has offered) and runs links to their competitors because they have sold the word GEICO when it appears in an article, is that fair use? Probably not, but it's gray.
If it weren't for the fact that google's search is free -- I'd think a lot of consumers have grounds for a complaint of fraud. I type in "A" because I want relevant pages about "A", not about the "non-A world".
Geico Spin Machine Undermines Google Victory
"The wave of articles seems to have been triggered by a Geico press release issued last week, which declared victory in the case.
In fact, however, for all practical purposes, Google won the trademark infringement lawsuit ..."