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Google Victorious In Keyword Trademark Dispute

by Glen Shapiro, LawAndTax-News.com, New York

20 December 2004


Internet search portal, Google has had its motion to dismiss a trademark infringement case brought against it by auto-insurance firm, Geico, granted, it emerged last week.

In May of this year, Geico filed suit against Google, alleging that its use of the Geico trademark to draw up adverts for rival insurance providers represented an infringement. Geico sought $8.65 million in damages, and an injunction to prevent Google's AdWords program from using its trademark.

However, delivering a formal opinion on the matter in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia last Wednesday, Judge Leonie Brinkema argued that:

"There is no evidence that that activity (the use of trademarks as sponsored search terms) alone causes confusion."

Google's vice president and general counsel, David Drummond welcomed the ruling, announcing that:

"It confirms that our policy complies with the law, particularly the use of trademarks as keywords. This is a clear signal to other litigants that our keyword policy is lawful."

The search firm is currently facing a similar trademark infringement case brought by American Blind and Wallpaper. However, observers have suggested that last week's opinion may not have any bearing on the verdict delivered in that and future cases, as it was only delivered by a district court judge.

A comprehensive report in our Intelligence Report series examining offshore e-commerce is available in the Lowtax Library at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/subs_reports.asp and a description of the report can be seen at http://www.lowtaxlibrary.com/asp/description_report6.asp

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