Feeds

Google back in court over Adwords

Axa sues in France

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

French insurance giant AXA is taking Google to court over allegations that the search engine sold on AXA trademarks as search terms.

The case centres on use of "Adwords" - search terms which trigger paid-for results. AXA claims that Google users searching for "AXA" or "direct assurance" were shown ads from rival insurers alongside search results.

An initial hearing will be held in Paris on 10 May. Both companies confirmed the case was live but refused to make further comment to AP.

Google is already in dispute in the US with American Blind and Wallpaper Factory which is laying claim to trademark terms as well what Google says are generic terms such as "american blinds" or "american wallpaper discount". The decorator sent a list of more than 30 search terms it laid claim to. Google claims such terms are generic and descriptive and therefore cannot be copyrighted. The list includes "american wall covering", "american wallpaper discount", "decorate today" and "decorate today discount".

Google agreed in September 2002 to remove trademarked terms which had been bought by rival wallpaper sellers. After continued complaints from American Blind, Google counter-sued in California in November 2003 seeking relief, the costs of its action and a jury trial to determine the legality of keyword-triggered advertising.

Google is keen to gain a definitive ruling to protect its lucrative paid search advertising business. A negative ruling will also call into question the search advertising revenues of the likes of Yahoo!, MSN and AOL. Paid search accounted for 35 per cent of US online ad revenues in 2003, up from 15 per cent in 2002. This ad category drove the first annual rise in online ad revenues since 2000, according to a PwC report published last week.

Google found itself in court in France in October 2003 for selling the keywords "bourse des vols" (flight market) to a travel firm. The phrase was a registered trademark of another firm and Google was fined €70,000 for copyright infringement.

Playboy pursued Netscape on similar trademark grounds. The case took five years to reach the federal appeal court where it was settled in January this year. Terms were not made public.

Google is widely expected to file its intention to IPO with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week. ®

Related stories

Search drives US online ad sales
Yahoo! shows paid search pays
Online ads draw record complaints
Yahoo! and MSN to dilute Google supremacy
Wanadoo unveils Euro ad network
SEC rules drag reluctant Google to market
California Senator seeks Google Gmail ban
Google's Gmail hits trademark problem

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Nadella: Apps must run on ALL WINDOWS – PCs, slabs and mobes
Phone egg, meet desktop chicken - your mother
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.