Louis Vuitton Offers Google More Trademark Trouble In Europe

Even as Google is liberalizing its trademark policy in Europe to agree with the US policy, luxury goods maker Luis Vuitton may turn back the clock and force a more restrictive policy on Google. France's highest court ruled for Louis Vuitton last year in a trademark case involving AdWords. Google has appealed. The European Court of Justice will hear the case (date uncertain) and issue a ruling (although that may not come for a year), which will effectively become the law across the EU. The stakes are very high for Google. If it loses the appeal, it will be compelled to adopt whatever rules th [...]

Search Biz: Where’s Eurekster?, Grab Google’s Gazillions?, WiFi “On Steriods,” & Yahoo Readies For Proxy Battle

Google’s recent decision to make its UK keyword bidding policy conform with the US practice of allowing competitors to bid on each other’s brands has drawn ire and threats of legal action. Today brings more such news of potential legal action against Google from a range of travel companies and retailers in the UK. Also angry at Google is BusinessWeek writer Roben Farzad, who penned a sarcastic and even, at times, bitter commentary called Let’s Grab Google’s Gazillions, which laments the fact that Google is so successful and has so much cash in a economy that looks pretty bad for lots [...]

Changes To Google UK Trademark Policy May Result In Lawsuits

In the US marketers may use competitors' trademarks as keywords, so long as they don't appear in the ad text itself. Previously Google used a more restrictive policy in the UK, not allowing use of competitors' trademarks at all. Last month the company changed its UK rules to conform to the more liberal US policy. Accordingly, UK marketers are promising to sue when the new policy is implemented. One legal expert interviewed about the change suggested that UK regulators will ultimately be compelled to step in to resolve the anticipated dispute. [...]

US Court Orders Advertiser To Use Negative Keywords In Trademark Case

Eric Goldman reports that a US District Judge in Florida ordered an advertiser using a trademark term to use the negative keyword option, to ensure that they would no longer bid on that term in the future. The judge ordered the defendant to stop using the word "ORION" in their search ad campaigns by adding that keyword to the negative keyword filter in AdWords. Here are the exact words of the court order, found in section D of Orion Bancorp Inc. v. Orion Residential Finance LLC: ...from purchasing or using any form of advertising including keywords or "adwords" in internet advertising cont [...]

US Court Learns SEO, Decides META Keywords Don’t Matter

Court Says Keyword Metatags Don't Matter--Standard Process v. Banks by Eric Goldman uncovers a recent case between Standard Process, Inc. v. Banks that shows that the court has ruled that the META keywords tag is "immaterial." Goldman said this is the first time the courts ruled based on knowledge of how the META keywords impact search rank, as opposed to past cases such as National American Medical vs Axiom, where a court ruled Meta Tags Can Constitute Infringement. Goldman puts it best, explaining his distaste for past judgments in the area of trademark law with the META tags: Lawyers, o [...]

US Court Rules Trademarks In Meta Tags Can Constitute Infringement

Eric Goldman reports that an 11th circuit, US Court of Appeals has upheld a district court's decision that the use of trademarked terms in meta tags can cause confusion and thus can constitute trademark infringement. North American Medical Corp. v. Axiom Worldwide, Inc. docket number 06-01678 CV-JTC-1 (PDF) doesn't specifically say if the trademarked terms were in the keywords meta tag, description meta tag or some other meta tag. But the ruling is that Axiom, who used North American Medical Corp's trademark in their meta tags, is in violation of trademark infringement. The specific keyword [...]

Google To Allow Bidding On Keyword Trademarks In UK

The UK PPC Blog tipped me off to Google announcing that the UK AdWords trademark policy has been changed to work like the US AdWords trademark policy. What this means is that UK advertisers can now bid on trademark terms. Earlier, those trademarked terms were blocked from bidding on within the AdWords network. The US policy allows advertisers to bid on many trademarked terms, but does not allow the advertiser to include that trademark within the ad content, in most cases. Google has a [...]

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. [...]

Utah Neuters Search Ad Trademark Keyword Law

The Google Public Policy Blog informed us that Utah has changed the law that restricted search engines from triggering ads based on trademarked terms. This reversal now puts Utah in sync with the precedent set forth by the federal trademark law. In short, you can now legally bid on trademarked terms in Utah, assuming you comply with the search engine's trademark policy in your country. [...]

Google On Everyone’s Lips: A Trademark Nightmare?

So, I got this Google-branded lip balm from the Google Store. I couldn't resist it—it just seemed like such a kooky thing for them to brand. After getting it, I feel like Google might be approaching some sort of critical mass, and that they could be in danger of losing control of their trademark. Is this a trademark lawyer's nightmare? I know they likely had these Google-branded lip balms made to use as tchotchkes—the little give-aways that companies hand out at their booths at conferences, and so they could give them to visitors at their headquarters in Mountain View. But, th [...]

Google To Defend Against “Selling Top Spot” In June 2008

Australian court sets June date for Google case from Reuters updates us on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) suit against Google. The Australian watchdog sued Google over deceptive search ads back in July of this year. They then went to court to have their case adjourned to October 4. Now we learn that an Australian Federal Court will hear the full case on June 23, 2008. Google had a statement: The ACCC's claims against Google are entirely without merit and we will continue to defend against them vigorously. We're very much looking forward to making our arguments [...]

Google Won’t Hand Over Competitive Data If Hit With Subpoena

Eric Goldman has updated us on the ongoing Connor Sport Court and Rhino Court case involving Google. The case, which we covered in Want Competitive Keyword Information? Just Subpoena Google!, suggested that Google was going to hand over competitive keyword data simply because one company filed a subpoena for it. Google has, in fact, declined to give Connor Sport Court the keyword data they initially requested from them. Connor Sport Court filed a motion to compel Google to hand over the data on October 31st. The hearing for this motion is scheduled for December 7th at 9 am in San Jose. [...]

Judge Rejects Google’s Motion To Dismiss American Airlines Suit

Eric Goldman reports Judge John McBride has denied Google's motion to dismiss the American Airlines search ad trademark suit. The court document does not explain why the judge denied Google's motion. All it says is that he dismissed the motion. Eric Goldman feels that taking this case to court will be a lot of wasted money and time for both Google and American Airlines, as well as the court and tax payers. Paid Search Ads & Trademarks: A Review Of Court Cases, Legal Disputes & Policies is our recap of similar cases over the years. [...]

Viacom May Want To Work With Google In Future

Viacom could work with Google in future: CEO from Reuters reports Philippe Dauman, Viacom's CEO, as saying "I suspect at some point in the future we'll work with Google." He made that statement Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco even after Viacom claimed they would still continue their legal action against Google's YouTube for $1 billion. Dauman added that Google's new video identification tool "reflects a positive evolution in their thinking, I welcome it." Is Viacom having a change of heart? Do they want to play good cop / bad cop? Dauman went as far to add: Google is a very high-quality [...]

Viacom Will Still Sue Google, Despite YouTube Piracy Filter

Viacom Says The Google Suit Is Still On from MediaPost reports that Viacom will continue its $1 billion suit over alleged copyright infringement on YouTube, even after Google launched its new YouTube piracy filter this week. Viacom spokesman Jeremy Zweig said the video identification tool "doesn't have any impact" on the lawsuit. Zweig added that the new technology doesn't make any impact on what happened in the past, plus he added, "we don't even know if the technology works yet." Donald Verrilli, Viacom's attorney said, "We'd have been a lot happier if they'd put this in place when they l [...]

Google to Launch YouTube Piracy Filter Today

Google Begins Offering New YouTube Piracy Fighter from CNNMoney reports Google will be announcing their YouTube video ID tool to help prevent content piracy, as soon as today. The source of this information has not been disclosed, nor have any additional details. The source did say that Google would provide additional details this Monday. Postscript: Google releases video filtering system from MercuryNews reports the tool is live now. Postscript 2: The Google Blog posted details about the content id tool, which is named YouTube Video Identification Beta. Dan King, a product manager at Yo [...]

Google Ordered To Pay $14,000 In Germany Over Gmail Trademark

Google fined in German Gmail trademark case from News.com reports Google was ordered by a German court to pay $14,000 over using m.gmail.com for their mobile Gmail users. As we know, Google lost the Gmail trademark case in Germany and was ordered to stop using Gmail.com. It appears that Google violated that with m.gmail.com and was thus ordered to pay the fine. Google said in a statement: We will pay the money to the German State as required by the Court of Appeal in Hamburg. We now use 'Googlemail' across Germany and believe our users are very happy both with the name and the service [...]

Google Asks Judge To Deny Boarding To American Airlines Lawsuit

Google seeks dismissal of American Airlines suit from Dallas Business Journal reports that Google has filed a motion to dismiss the American Airlines vs. Google trademark case. In that case, American Airlines sued Google for allowing advertisers to bid on their trademark names. Gary Price located the motion to dismiss document (PDF format). Google argues that triggering ads using terms that are also trademarks is not itself a protected trademark use and that if there are trademark issues, American Airlines should be going after the advertisers that are actually purchasing the ads. In the m [...]

Google Victory In American Blinds Settlement Over Trademark-Triggered Search Ads

One of the oldest outstanding trademark-infringement lawsuits filed against Google over search ads -- that by American Blinds & Wallpaper -- has been settled in what I'd agree with legal analyst Eric Goldman in calling a stunning victory for Google. Google has to pay nothing and change nothing to see the case disappear. Eric has posted the eight-page settlement here (PDF format). It provides that American Blinds will not seek to sue Google as long as it maintains its existing policy that bars trademarks from ad copy. Eric also notes that American Blinds previously has had to pay Google [...]

Paid Search Ads & Trademarks: A Review Of Court Cases, Legal Disputes & Policies

Over the years, we've seen a number of lawsuits filed against search engines or between companies regarding ads that are linked to trademark terms. Below, a rundown on some of the more notable cases. Before the recap, a little background. To those not familiar with trademark law, the cases can seem like guaranteed victories for the trademark holders. Surely no one has the right to run an ad linked to the word "apple" but Apple itself, correct? However, trademark holders do not have complete control over how their "words" are used. Indeed, these cases aren't technically abou [...]

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