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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.
joined:Mar 17, 2005
Words to live by...
The judge found that there was infringement where the terms were used in the text of sponsored ads.
This seems to be the crux of the lawsuit. The question is, is advertising on a keyword (without using it in the ad), going to be allowed without explicit permission in the future.
joined:Dec 29, 2003
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.
the court has stayed the trial for 30 days to give the parties an opportunity to settle. If the parties do not settle, the trial will continue on the question of damages and on the issue of who is liable: Google or Google's advertisers.
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".
I still think and apparently so do the courts that trademarks belong to the trademark owners and they don't exist so that third parties can profit by the use of them. Actually, this is a long time in coming IMHO.
But Brinkema also ruled that Google can use trademarks as keywords to trigger the appearance of ads.
This clears up quite a bit if the entire ruling stands, and draws some good lines for what is/isn't acceptable.
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 ..."