Feeds

Software firm goes after Google for internet invisibility cloak

The more you ignore me, the closer I get

High performance access to file storage

A software company has sued Google not only for trade mark infringement in Google's AdWords advertising system but for making its website invisible to the Google search engine.

Google has faced a string of law suits claiming that it breaks trade mark law when it allows third parties to buy the right for their ads to appear when another company's trade mark is typed into the search engine.

Ascentive has gone one step further, though, and has claimed that Google broke the law in the US when, after a dispute, it took Ascentive's website off the index used by its search engine, effectively making the site invisible to the world's biggest search engine.

Ascentive sells software that it says cleans computers of spyware and allows remote viewing of the use of a computer to allow parents to monitor children's access. Anti-malware non-profit Stopbadware.org, though, said that an earlier version of the software could harm computers.

Ascentive changed its software because of Stopbadware's concerns, but it said that the Stopbadware warnings may have been the reason that Google suspended not only Ascentive's advertising account but also its presence in Google's natural search results.

A Google response to Ascentive said that the action was because of "multiple policy disapprovals", according to court documents.

Ascentive made clear in its lawsuit, filed at the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, that its business depends on the internet, and to a large extent on Google. "In 2008 Ascentive derived approximately 99 per cent of its revenues from online sales from its websites," it said. "Google's willingness to display links to Ascentive's websites in its natural search listings is…crucial to internet users' ability to locate Ascentive's websites."

Ascentive argues in its suit that by not including it in its natural search listings, Google is interfering with "prospective contractual relations".

"Prospective customers searching for [Ascentive brand] 'Finallyfast', which Google estimate number about 110,000 internet users a month, previously saw displayed a link to Ascentive's www.finallyfast.com website," it said.

"As a result of Google's actions, these customers now see displayed only the advertisements and websites of third parties, including competitors of Ascentive that continue to make unauthorized use of Ascentive's trademarks," said the suit. It said that Google "intended to harm" Ascentive.

The law suit also makes claims against Google's keywords advertising system. Google's AdWords displays adverts according to the payment made by advertisers to have their promotions appear when certain keywords are put into the search engine.

There have been disputes about whether one company paying to have its ads displayed when another company's trade mark is searched for represents trade mark infringement.

Google's policy in the US and the UK allows the use of other people's trade marks as a trigger for an ad but does not allow the use of that term in the ad itself.

Google refined that policy recently in the US only, where it said that a business could use someone else's trade mark in the ad without that company's permission if it sold the goods referred to.

In 2006 A New York court threw out a case arguing that the use of a trade mark as a trigger was trade mark infringement. A previous case had been settled out of court.

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.