Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Can You Sue Google Because You Don't Like The Type Of Ads It Puts Up Near Your Listing?

from the seems-like-a-stretch dept

There have been plenty of stories concerning lawsuits against Google from companies that don't like others buying text ads based on the original company's name as a keyword. While the court results on these cases is mixed, it seems like Google should easily win. First, and most importantly, the complaint shouldn't be against Google, but against the companies doing the advertising. Second, it's not a violation of trademarks. Trademarks are only supposed to protect against consumer confusion, not give the owner complete control over the use of the mark. However, it looks like there's a slightly different variation on these types of cases over in the Netherlands. There, a dating site for farmers (talk about niches...) is complaining when people search Google for their site, the ads that show up are for "sex" sites. The dating site is worried that such advertisements damage the image of their own site. It's an interesting legal question -- though, again, it may be a difficult for the company to win. If others believe that the dating site is most closely associated with sex, then it's not exactly Google's fault. Of course, this also raises another question: if others set up a Google bomb so that other such sites showed up in the organic listings, would the company still be able to complain? Google says they won't adjust their organic listings, even in the event of a Google bomb -- so it's difficult to see how you could blame Google for the sites your company is associated with. The dating site's explanation is a bit weak as well, claiming that just because Google can block such advertisements, it means it has an obligation to do so.

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  • icon
    JeroenW (profile), 16 Aug 2006 @ 1:45am

    First post!

    I thought that in the US you can sue anyone for pretty much anything.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mr. Oversimplification Man, 16 Aug 2006 @ 2:16am

      Re: First post!

      Of course, since Americans are human beings, human beings can sue for pretty much anything.

      Please post something of substance. Mod parent -1, Troll. Mod self -1, Flamebait.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Omar, 16 Aug 2006 @ 2:13am


    is there anyway to request that your website is not listed in any search result? I guess there should be. If you don't like the ads that are associated with the link to your website, you should have the option not to be lsited at all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Stanley Waxman, 21 Aug 2006 @ 9:32am

    letter of intent to sue a corporation

    Do you have a generic form to sue a corporation, its officers and directors?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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