This isn't a huge surprise, but the Geico lawsuit against Google and Overture for showing competitors' ads on searches including the term "Geico" is been given the green light to move forward, and wasn't simply tossed out. Apparently, the judge believed Geico that this somehow was trademark infringement. Hopefully, Google and Overture can get a good legal strategy together in time for the actual case. It's been said many times before, but this is not trademark infringement, it's advertising. The point of trademark is to protect your brand against being hijacked by someone else pretending to be you. It's to avoid consumer confusion. It's not, like a patent, designed to keep everyone completely away. As long as the ads in question don't try to trick users into believing that they are Geico, there's no trademark infringement. It's no different than trying to get yourself on the same super market shelf as a more popular brand. You want to be in the same place when someone is looking for your competitor. If anything, Geico should be focusing on specific ads that confuse users into believing that the ads are for Geico instead of a competitor. Speaking of which, Google and Overture should have nothing to do with this case. They're not the ones who created the ads, but are simply the vehicle for delivering them. If Geico has a problem with the ads, they should be suing the advertiser in question. The fact that the judge didn't get these things early on suggests that Google and Overture's legal strategy has not worked properly so far. Considering the potential impact of a loss in this case, they may want to re-evaluate their legal strategy.
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