Yet Another Lawsuit Over Trademarked Ad Words
from the let's-get-this-settled-already dept
Well, that didn't take long. Less than a week after AOL paid up to settle the lawsuit they were dealing with over selling trademarked words and phrases as search keywords, a company is suing Google, AOL and other Google partners for basically the same thing. In this case, American Blind and Wallpaper Factory told Google to stop selling keywords based on their trademarks. Google told them they would stop selling on things like "American Blind Factory" and "DecorateToday," but saw no reason to stop on such generic terms as "American wallpaper" and "American blind." In fact, Google went so far as to ask a judge to say this was perfectly fine. In response, American Blind is suing them. Let's try this once again: the point of trademark is to make sure no one is misled. That's not what happens at all when someone is buying keywords on your trademark. Trademarks don't give you a monopoly over the word or phrase - they just let you stop people from confusing customers into think they're you, or that you endorse them somehow. However, ads are clearly ads, and targeting them at people who might be interested in your offering (so long as they don't misrepresent themselves) is a perfectly justifiable thing to do. It's the same thing as getting shelf-placement near other, similar products.