Google Selling Trademarked Names as Keywords for Ads
by Brian White:
Google gets a reprieve on advertising copyright dilemma
Google Inc.(NASDAQ:GOOG) can get a break sometimes.
In this case, a court judge agreed with Google that it can't be held liable for allowing competitors of any company to purchase keyword advertising that uses competitive trade dress and actual company names and related words in order to draw customers. In other words, if Ford used "Chevy" in the keywords it purchased at Google's AdWords program, Google could not be held liable.
This is the age-old dilemma of holding/not holding the company accountable for apparent misdeeds and copyright violations perpetrated by many companies. Just like what eBay continues to see-- sellers using copyrights and other protected information to sell their wares against the competition -- Google has seen and will continue to see the same types of things. But, when do companies become responsible for the content purchased, displayed or advertised on their networks? Google and eBay Inc. (NASDAQ:EBAY) both make it clear that parties using their networks are responsible for their own content. Otherwise, both companies could not hope to police and control the rampant amount of copyright violation happening all over each company's respective properties.
Just like a P2P network that is used for trading data over the Internet. Those networks can be used for any type of information, yet some courts want to shut down services because the possibility of trading copyrighted information exists. What about legitimate data transfer?
There is no easy solution here -- except for companies going after competitors illegally using trade dress to take sales away. But can the "messenger" be responsible? An intellectual property attorney or patent/copyright attorney can cite examples here most likely. I'd love to hear them.
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