Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
keywords, trademark


Can Companies Use Trademark Lawsuits To Find Out What Keywords Competitors Are Buying?

from the sneaky,-sneaky dept

We've been covering many ridiculous attempts by companies to sue Google because competitors buy keyword ads based on trademarked terms. As we've pointed out, over and over again, this shouldn't be illegal (trademark law doesn't mean a competitor can't use your brand in an ad), and even if the ad does violate trademarks, it shouldn't be Google's issue, but the advertiser's. However, one company is apparently trying to use just such a lawsuit not just to make Google pay up, but to get Google to reveal all sorts of information on who else had bought ads based on its trademark -- which would seem to be pretty valuable information for any company. Google, thankfully, is resisting the request, but the company is still demanding it. As Eric Goldman notes in the link above, if this is allowed, you can expect to see many more of these lawsuits, not to try to squeeze money out of Google, but to find out how much their competitors are spending on keyword ads.

Reader Comments

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  1. identicon
    Search* Engines WEB, 13 Nov 2007 @ 9:11pm

    If that company was so concerned - they would have monitored Google themselves to see what companies where using their brand names in ads.

    They could have outsourced or did a search periodically for the company's brand or the competitive keywords associated with their products or services.

    They did not think to do this, now they want Google to do their work for them.

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

  2. icon
    boomhauer (profile), 13 Nov 2007 @ 9:53pm

    uh yeah

    or just run some of their own ads and see how much it costs to get to the front of the pack. not that hard..

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

  3. Google should resist.

    Would you sue a newspaper that ran an ad using your "trademark" in an advertisement? I think not.

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

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