Google Adwords infringement case…

Geico, sometime back, has sued Google (also Overture, but that was settled out of court) over a couple of issues with Adwords. For starters, Geico does not advertise through Google. Their competitors do and in some cases their competitors have appeared with the keywords Geico and Geico Direct. (In other words the advertisors said those are keywords they’re paying to be associated with.) The other issue was with the text in the ad mentioning Geico and Geico Direct.

Well, in December the issue of keywords was resolved. Google wins and anyone can use the keywords, even those of a competitor in bidding for ad slots. However a ruling in US district court finds that the trademarked words cannot show up in the text part of the ads. So, I presume this means you can’t say “better than Geico direct” in a text ad? To a point I can see where there might be some confusion. If I title the ad “Geico direct” or something like that, or “Geico insurance” that would be a problem, if I compared my product to Geico direct I feel as though that should be permissable as long as it’s not misleading.

Still to be decided is who is responsible for the trademark infringement, Google or the advertisors *(uhmmm…. the advertisors?)

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