Judge Finds Confusion Over Geico Ads, Punts On The Real Liability Question
from the missing-the-point dept
In the ongoing saga of Geico vs. Google, it appears that a District Court judge has sided with Geico in determining that certain ads may be confusing to consumers, and therefore establish trademark violations. This case has a lot of moving parts, so it’s easy to be a bit confused over what’s really being discussed — in fact, it’s so easy that not even the two sides agree on what’s really being argued. However, the first issue is whether or not text ads on Google that use Geico’s name are a violation of Geico’s trademark. That seems questionable in a generalized form, as plenty of companies have ads that mention their competitors by name. However, if the specific ads are done in a way that could confuse people, then it’s a trademark violation — and the judge seems to believe that’s the case here. Hopefully, the ruling will make it clear that this does not apply to any ad on the keyword Geico, but just ads that are shown to be potentially confusing. Still, the more important point is whether or not Google should be liable for the damages. After all, it isn’t Google that wrote the infringing ad. That’s the important part of this case — and on that point, the judge has punted. Instead of deciding that issue, she said that there was trademark violation and told Geico and Google to try to settle the case before she decides if Google is even liable. That seems ridiculous. Google shouldn’t have any responsibility at all. It should be the company that created the infringing ad, and it seems silly that Google should have to waste resources settling a legal case that it shouldn’t be a part of.