American Airlines And Google Settle Keyword Advertising Spat
from the too-bad-it's-secret dept
Despite lawsuit after lawsuit ruling in favor of Google whenever a company sued Google because one of their own competitors was buying keywords based on their trademarks, American Airlines decided to get in on the game as well. Since American Airlines was probably the biggest company to take on Google in this manner, some undoubtedly were hoping that it might actually be able to succeed. However, the two companies have now settled the case. And, while the terms of the deal remain secret, Eric Goldman checked the ads on Google and doesn’t see anything that indicates that Google has changed its usual practice of allowing non-confusing ads.
In other words, it sounds like American Airlines lawyers finally looked at the details of earlier rulings and realized the company had close to no chance of winning this. A trademark does not give the holder complete control over the use of the word, and a competitor using the word for competitive advertising is completely legal, so long as they’re not using it in a way that is likely to confuse a consumer. Even more important, if there’s any liability, it should be on the other advertisers, not Google, which is merely the platform provider.