Google and Trademarks

In a long-awaited opinion, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Google must face a trademark infringement lawsuit for selling keywords that trigger ads.

The three-judge panel reversed a lower court's dismissal of Rescuecom v. Google, 06-4881, in which computer-repair company Rescuecom had claimed that users could be confused by links to competitors' ads that appear alongside Google search results for the company's trademarked name.

See

Rescuecom Corp. v. Google Inc., 2009 WL 875447 (2d Cir. April 3, 2009)

Law.com

The Standard

Eric Goldman's Blog

Comments

Elena Tsangari said…
The decision of the Appeals Court is disappointing. I think there is no difference between typing a company's name into a Google search (even a trademarked name) and being able to access links to that company’s competitors from the results page, to looking up a company's name in the yellow pages which is obviously surrounded by its competitors' details.

If companies want to take advantage of the efficiency of the internet and advertise on a global scale, then they should not in turn try to impose restrictions on the information that can be accessed.
Sandy Lau said…
The outcome of this case would ultimately set a precedent as previous decisions relating to what is now known as "keyword cases" have been mixed.

The argument that Google was violating trademark by attempting to "free-ride" on the goodwill associated with Rescuecom's name, preventing Internet searchers from reaching Rescuecom's Web site, altering the search results and using the trademark internally are valid arguments.

I think that Google will fall on this one.
Romantic Girl said…
I tend to agree with Elena's comment on this regarding the parallel with regards to the yellow pages.

In regards to the access to competitors on the same page as the "requested" company's details it fits with in the way we tend to function in this commercially competitive society.

However if Google is actually preventing search results from appearing or attempting to provide results in such a way that it almost misleads users they does need to be somekind of preventative action taken that could lead to some regulation in this area.

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