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Google Wins European Trademark Victory 39

Posted by timothy
from the kleenex-runs-scared dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "A European court has ruled in Google's favor, saying that allowing advertising customers to use the names of other companies as search keywords does not represent a trademark violation. The court also went on to say that Google's AdWords program is protected by a European law governing Internet hosting services. Google's main line of defense was claiming that companies that want to extend trademark law to keywords are really interested in 'controlling and restricting the amount of information that users may see in response to their searches.' The decision is the first in a series of decisions from the court about how trademark rights can be used to restrict information available to users. Google is currently battling several trademark keyword cases in the US, including a case against Rosetta Stone, Inc."
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Google Wins European Trademark Victory

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  • Re:Like TV (Score:4, Informative)

    by beelsebob (529313) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @09:00AM (#31596374)

    At least in the UK, companies *can't* use each others names in TV commercials. That's why things are commonly compared to "another leading brand".

  • by vincefn (705639) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @09:12AM (#31596502) Homepage
    The summary and the linked article are extremely incomplete ! Yes, Google was essentially exonerated from the charges - i.e. is not held responsible for the chosen adwords. But the buyers of adwords (the advertisers) can still be held responsible. To quote the WSJ article [wsj.com]: Google isn't liable for trademark infringement when it sells linked ads to a brand's competitor. The court held that the search giant is merely a host for ads and that it is an advertiser's responsibility to make clear if its product is different from that searched for.

    The good thing is that google's service/business is acknowledged as a neutral one. But the advertisers can still be held responsible if they use the trademarked brand without the right to do so.
  • Re:no (Score:1, Informative)

    by Jaydee23 (1741316) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @10:44AM (#31597578)
    Companies have to act to protect their trademarks or they may lose them, it is known as genericization. Ironically, Google has this problem with people using the term "Googling"

    http://inventors.about.com/b/2006/01/29/when-a-brand-name-becomes-generic-genericized-trademarks.htm [about.com]

    "The word Kleenex is now commonly used to describe any soft facial tissue. However, Kleenex is the trademarked name of the soft facial tissue manufactured and sold by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation."

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