That was amazingly fast. While the case of Geico vs. Google over Google's ability to sell ads based on the term "Geico" just started, the judge has already thrown out the biggest part of the case, saying that there's simply no trademark infringement for Google to sell ads to other insurance companies based on the keyword Geico. Anyone think that Overture is suddenly regretting its decision to settle with Geico a couple weeks ago? The full opinion hasn't been written yet, so it will be interesting to see the judge's reasoning -- but as many of us have pointed out before, the point of a trademark is to avoid confusion when one company appears to be another. It's not to have absolute and total control over a term. Having competitors get their ads in places where shoppers are looking for a particular brand is all part of advertising. It's how supermarkets survive. There's nothing illegal about it unless one company pretends that it really is Geico, when it isn't. In fact, the case will continue (sometime in the future), but only looking at whether or not competitors can use the term Geico in their ads (as in, "lower prices than Geico"). However, Google says they already forbid those types of ads, and the judge has asked the two sides to work towards a settlement.
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