Technology and Business Law Blog

Google continues to be sued under trademark law.

Geico sued Google under the trademark law stating that Google allowed competing insurers to buy the Geico mark as a keyword. American Blinds sued Google on similar issues that the sale of keyword based advertising violated the trademark law. Louis Vuitton filed a case against Google on similar claims and the French courts ruled that Google’s ad policies violated the French trademark law.

Now American Airlines has sued Google on the similar issue of search words involving its name. This lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of the Northern District of Texas states that Google violates trademark laws by selling search terms such as “American Airlines” or “AA.com” to other companies for advertising. This is important because when Google sells the right to use  a name or similar words, phrases or terms or trademarks that are confusingly similar to American Airlines to other competitors than when someone clicks on the phrase or term on Google’s ad then the competitor directs the search to the competitor’s own web pages.

In Geico the court held that there was no trademark infringement for use of keyword triggers and if a confusion occured in the consumers mind then all they had to do was click the Back button, but the court left issues of liablity open which was settled under confidentiality terms. So in essence it was a victory for Google.

The court in the American Blinds case upheld it’s right to go to trial on claims of trademark infringement, unfair competition and contributory dilution and the trial date is set in November and will be heard by Judge Fogel in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose. Now that is closer to home and it will be interesting to see what the Judge decides.

August 18, 2007 Posted by | Google and trademarks | Leave a comment