Feeds

Google back in court over Adwords

Axa sues in France

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.