Court: Use Of Trademark In AdWords Copy Is An Infringement

Eric Goldman commented on a case between one advertiser using another advertiser’s trademark in Google AdWords. The court has made a decision (PDF), ruling for the plaintiff, Storus, who sued Aroa for using their trademark in the AdWords title text. Eric Goldman said this is one of the first times we have seen the plaintiff win in a case between advertisers over trademarks in search ads.

Storus has a trademark on the phrase “smart money clips.” Aroa, Storus’s competitor, used “Smart Money Clips” in the title of their Google AdWords ad, argued that the word “smart” was a laudatory phrase. The court felt otherwise and upheld the trademark for Storus and ruled in favor of the plaintiff.

The motion is GRANTED and Storus shall have judgment in its favor as against Aroa on the issue of trademark infringement, specifically, that Aroa’s use of Storus’ mark in connection with Google AdWords is infringing.

What is incredibly interesting to me, outside of the legal ramifications of this case, is the business decision that went into this lawsuit. Goldman estimates that Storus could have spent $1,374 to “divert” the clicks to their own site but instead spent a lot more money going to court to sue Aroa over this claim. In fact, Goldman estimates that the keywords probably cost 1% of what the case cost.

It is also important to note that the practice of using a competitor’s trademark in ad copy is already prohibited by most US based search ad companies, including Google. In this case, no lawsuit was required to kill the ads. Also see Paid Search Ads & Trademarks: A Review Of Court Cases, Legal Disputes & Policies for a review of past cases.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Legal: Trademarks


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide