Everywhere you look, it seems like the EU is out to get poor Google. Apart from the antitrust and privacy litigation that they’ve been subjected to, they’ve also taken a lot of criticism for their practice of allowing people to purchase trademarked terms as keywords for sponsored ads. Bing recently relaxed its policy of disallowing that practice to bring itself more in line with Google’s policy, as I pointed out here. But the EU seems to be pretty hostile to that position, and there’s been some press recently that the high court in the EU will not look kindly on advertisers purchasing their competitors’ trademarks as keywords.
Interestingly, the lawsuit at issue was brought by the trademark owner… Continue reading
Recently, the 9th Circuit held that the Internet Troika — three factors usually relied upon in Internet trademark cases in the domain name context, namely (1) the similarity of the marks, (2) the relatedness of the goods, and (3) the marketing channel used — was not the proper method for determining whether trademark infringement was present in the context of sponsored ads, and instead ended up singling out four of the nonexhaustive eight Sleekcraft factors: (1) strength of the mark, (2) evidence of actual confusion (if any), (3) type of goods and degree of care likely to be exercised by the purchaser, and (4) labeling and appearance of advertisements in context on the search engine results page.
The case that… Continue reading
The ABA recently published a short article about the Rosetta Stone adwords case. The article notes that large swaths of the pleadings and motions in the case were redacted, which made it difficult to see what was going on. Google certainly has a vested interest in keeping its trade secrets from the public, and rightly so, but there’s a legitimate question as to whether Google is overreaching with its protective requests. Although the bloggers/public interest group involved were successful in forcing an un-redacted brief, the ABA article notes that there’s still a big chunk of the evidentiary record that hasn’t been unsealed. It will be interesting to see what Google is ultimately able to keep from the public… Continue reading
Well, this post at theDomains.com has a sensational title — “A Game Changer? Court Awards Trademark Holder $292K In Damages Against Advertiser On Google Keywords” — but it is a significant decision, and not just in terms of money. The Central District of California has apparently held that a purchaser of a Google Ad that contained a competitor’s trademark qualifies as a use in commerce under Federal law, which means that the purchaser of the ad can be sued by the trademark owner for trademark infringement. In the case at issue, it was one national disability law firm suing another, for trademark infringement, false advertising, and a state law claim for unfair competition. The plaintiff, Binder &… Continue reading