Feeds

Google and GEICO settle AdWords dispute

Big group hug

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

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

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
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
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
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
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
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
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.
Application security programs and practises
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.