Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
index, search index, trademark

Companies:
ascentive, google



Yet Another Company Sues Google For Not Being In Google's Index

from the this-won't-go-far dept

Eric Goldman has the details on how Ascentive (a company that many in the tech community accuse of being a scam) has sued Google for removing Ascentive from Google's search index. There's a separate complaint about trademarks and AdWords on competitive ads, but that's an issue that's been covered so often, we'll ignore it in this case. Instead, what's interesting is the claim that Google removing Ascentive from its index is somehow a violation of Ascentive's rights. Of course, previous cases have shown that you have no legal right to have Google rank you where you think it's appropriate -- and if Google decides to remove you entirely, that's its prerogative.

Goldman notes that Ascentive's claim is a bit different than such claims in the past (but no more likely to get anywhere), noting that the refusal to list Ascentive's site is a trademark violation, because "consumers expect to see the trademark owner in organic search results for the trademark and therefore consumers will be actionably confused if the trademark owner doesn't appear there." Talk about twisting the intention of trademark law! It seems unlikely that such a claim gets very far, but it will be fun to see how the court responds to it.

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  1. identicon
    Tghu Verd, 29 Jun 2009 @ 5:10pm

    Surely Google has a right of denial

    I'd think that if this hits the courts it's going to go Google's way, but perhaps that's naive.

    On the face of things, Google is probably not obliged to list any particular URL in its index.

    But given its market power, reach and depth, it might be forced to because otherwise it is explicitly acting to restrain trade.

    So irrespective of Ascentive's motives or business model, they could press the point in their favor.

    Certainly will be an interesting one to watch, though if Anonymous Coward is correct and Google has essentially boxed them off to the side, it kind of takes the wind out of Ascentive's sails (and sales)...

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