by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 22nd 2010 4:44am
There have been a bunch of silly lawsuits over the use of competitors' trademarked terms being used in ads on Google AdWords. There are a bunch of different legal issues related to those lawsuits, including whether or not Google should be liable for actions of advertisers, whether it's trademark infringement to mention a competitor in an ad, and whether it's trademark infringement just to have an ad triggered on a competitor's trademarked phrase. There's a company called Rescuecom that has been particularly aggressive in these lawsuits, suing Google for a competitor having ads triggered on their trademarks. While a district court rejected that claim, last year an appeals court sent it back to the lower court to try again. And yet... at the same time, it appears that Rescuecom is involved in a lawsuit on the other side with Best Buy. Best Buy claims that Rescuecom is infringing on the "Geek Squad" trademark, and Rescuecom claims that it has a fair use defense... yes for the very same thing it's accusing others of doing. You have to imagine that's going to be pointed out in both of those lawsuits. Some have suggested that Rescuecom doesn't really care either way, and it believes that these lawsuits are a good PR campaign -- which could explain its different view in each lawsuit. If that's the case, it seems like a rather big abuse of the legal system.
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