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Google The Courts Your Rights Online

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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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @08:41AM (#31596236)

    There are always various degrees of sensibility.

    On the one hand there are companies that try to monopolise common words and thus prohibit their use.

    On the other hand there are companies mooching off of popular competitor brand names by advertising their products using these brands.

  • Re:Like TV (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dingen (958134) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @09:11AM (#31596494)
    The difference is however that in the case of Google AdWords, the other brand doesn't have to be included in the ad itself, it can only be the keyword which triggers the ad to show up. The EU judge ruled that it is valid if McDonald's buys advertisements with the "Burger King" keyword, so that if users are looking for Burger King, the McDonald's ad will show up. This doesn't mean that Burger King will be actually meantioned in the ad, it's just the mechanism for triggering it.
  • Re:Like TV (Score:2, Insightful)

    by salarelv (1314017) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @10:41AM (#31597544) Journal
    McDonald'd can always buy a ad near a Burger King. Same as the keyword thing.
  • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @12:07PM (#31598952)

    However, Trademark is far different than insanity that is patents and copyright at the moment. Trademarks are unique logo marks and trade names and you HAVE to defend them else they are null and void. It is supposed to protect your brand identity. Imagine if a company puts out a similar product with using your logo/mark or similar name however their product is crap and starts to ruin your brand name. This is what Trademark is suppose to protect and it works pretty well. i know that we have trademark agreements with several of their logos. They are basic rules, like we cannot use their logo to show endorsement, and they can't be larger than our company's logo and product name. But we are free to put "Premiere Partner with XYZ, Gold Partner with ABC," etc. We also have a couple trademarks that we use in particular builds of our open source software. Anyone is free to compile the code, but they can't use our trademarked images. We don't distribute those images in the source. Only the binaries we compile and support all have our logo on the splash screen so that our clients know it's our build and therefore covered under our support agreements. Likewise, we can't use the company's name or logo which we forked the product from to promote or declare our own.

    I also agree with this ruling. It shouldn't be Google's responsibility. However if another company is using your trademark in their advertising with out consent or in a way that infringes on our brand, sue the advertiser.

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