Feeds

Google pressed to reveal AdWords secrets

Much ado about recreational flooring

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Goldman, who obtained and posted a copy of the the subpoena (PDF), believes that the case could be a watershed, paving the way for particularly-cunning businesses to weasel information about their competitors from Google and other search sites. "Today, a trademark owner has to bid for their own trademark on Google, and they never quite know what they're bidding against," he says. "But this could give them great insight into how to bid optimally on their trademark." All they have to do, says Goldman, is file a suit and issue a subpoena.

According to Edward J. Naughton, a partner with the international law firm of Holland and Knight who specializes in intellectual property, it is unusual for a company like Google receive a subpoena in a case like this. Typically, he says, a court will ensure that the plaintiff only collect keyword data from the defendant itself, ensuring that other parties are left alone.

Several lawyers we talked to also said they wouldn't be surprised if Google complies with the injunction. "Companies like Google are getting less litigious on these types of issues," says Doug Wolf, co-chair of the trademark group at the Boston-based firm Wolf, Greenfield, and Sacks. "When it's only third-party information involved and there's no clear benefit to them in trying to suppress a subpoena, they'll comply with it."

But both Naughton and Wolf question whether others could use this sort of court action simply to collect data about competitors. "I suppose there's a risk here to businesses, but I think it's pretty small," says Naughton. "It's hard to say that this is going to open the floodgates. In the average case, the court is going to understand the information is competitively sensitive." In the event of a subpoena, the court could also issue a "protective order," which would only allow a company's lawyers to see the subpoenaed information - not the company itself.

Gregory Rutchik, founder of the arts and technology law group, a California-based infringement litigation firm, agrees. "First of all, litigation is incredibly expensive," he says. "But even if a business were willing to spend the thousands of dollars needed to get this sort of information, there's a risk - to the lawyers and to the business - that they'll be sued in return." ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Euro Parliament VOTES to BREAK UP GOOGLE. Er, OK then
It CANNA do it, captain.They DON'T have the POWER!
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Post-Microsoft, post-PC programming: The portable REVOLUTION
Code jockeys: count up and grab your fabulous tablets
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
prev story

Whitepapers

Free virtual appliance for wire data analytics
The ExtraHop Discovery Edition is a free virtual appliance will help you to discover the performance of your applications across the network, web, VDI, database, and storage tiers.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
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?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.