Feeds

Google and GEICO settle AdWords dispute

Big group hug

Boost IT visibility and business value

Google and car insurance firm GEICO have settled a trade mark dispute over the search engine's sale of sponsored search terms "Geico" and "Geico Direct". GEICO had claimed that this use was in breach of its trade mark rights.

Car insurance firm GEICO sued both Google and Yahoo! subsidiary Overture in May 2004 over the sale of its registered trade marks as sponsored search terms in the keyword advertising services of both search engines.

These services work by allowing advertisers to sponsor particular search terms so that, for a fee, whenever that term is searched, an advert will appear next to the organic search results.

Overture settled in late November, but Google continued its fight, winning a significant victory in December when Judge Leonie Brinkema of the Eastern District of Virginia ruled that there was no evidence that the use of the trade marks as sponsored search terms caused confusion.

However, she acknowledged that GEICO had produced survey evidence "sufficient to establish a likelihood of confusion regarding those Sponsored Links in which the trade mark GEICO appears either in the heading or text of the ad."

Accordingly, she allowed the case to continue over the question of whether the use of the trade marked terms in the text of sponsored ads breached GEICO's rights.

This was unlikely to be a major concern for Google: it has always allowed trade mark holders to request that their trade marks do not appear in the headings or text of sponsored links.

In her formal opinion, published in August, Judge Brinkema wrote: "Google may be liable for trademark infringement for the time period before it began blocking such usage or for such ads that have slipped or continue to slip through Google's system for blocking the appearance of GEICO's mark in Sponsored Links."

Google and GEICO confirmed that the lawsuit has been resolved. The terms of settlement remain confidential.

© Pinsent Masons 2000 - 2005

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.