BusinessWeek Reports on RESCUECOM Lawsuit Against Google

RESCUECOM Challenges Controversial Google Advertising Policy

BusinessWeek
By Michael Orey
Internet Mat 11,2009:


Google's Rival Keyword Sales Go Wide

Google is expanding sales of company names as keywords for competitors despite a lawsuit by Rescuecom

Google (GOOG) is going global with an advertising strategy that has kicked up controversy in the U.S. and Europe. As part of its efforts to generate revenue from online ads, Google lets marketers in a handful of countries pay to surface their ads when a would-be customer searches for a rival's brand name.

Starting June 4, marketers in about 200 countries will be allowed to purchase rival trademarks as keywords to trigger display of "sponsored search" ads on Google. Honda, for instance, could bid to have one of its ads displayed when a consumer searches the term "Toyota." In recent years some companies have sued Google or the competing company, saying the practice is a form of trademark infringement.

The decision to implement the strategy more widely suggests that Google is confident it is operating on sound legal footing. "Following a global legal review, we have made the changes in countries whose legal and business practices are consistent with making the change," Google spokesman Ben Novick explained in an e-mail. Notably excepted from the long list of countries are member of the European Union, though a forthcoming court ruling could change that.

European Court of Justice will rule

Efforts to force Google to curtail the practice have met with mixed results. In April a U.S. appeals court said a patent-infringement claim by computer repair company Rescuecom could go forward?though to win, Rescuecom will have to prove that consumers will be confused if rivals are drawn to rival Web sites.

Europe's highest court, the European Court of Justice, has also been asked to rule on the issue after member country courts reached differing results. Google is appealing the loss of an infringement case in France to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton but has won similar cases in Germany. In the EU, "the legal and business practices there are not consistent with making the change," Novick wrote in the e-mail.

Google's policy, implemented in the U.S. and Canada in 2004, bars advertisers from using others' trademarks in the text of the ad itself but does permit it in the unseen keywords used to display the ad in cases where the keyword is used in a search. After adopting the same policy in the United Kingdom and Ireland last year, Google has now decided to extend it virtually worldwide.

Google Reviews

Jon Burlingham Jr
Jon Burlingham Jr
a week ago
My technician Roy was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful when it came to all of my questions and n
...My technician Roy was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful when it came to all of my questions and needs. He worked diligently to find the correct parts and services that met the requirements of my specific machine. I highly recommend their services, and will continue to use Rescuecom for my future tech support needs! less
Wendy House
Wendy House
2 weeks ago
Thank you so much for an amazing job and your professional and knowledgeable tech support!!!!!!
...Thank you so much for an amazing job and your professional and knowledgeable tech support!!!!!! less
Jim Loughran
Jim Loughran
3 weeks ago
Great over the phone support from Anthony, fixed all my problems. Excellent service.
...Great over the phone support from Anthony, fixed all my problems. Excellent service. less
Michael Motta
Michael Motta
3 weeks ago
Anthony just saved me hundreds of dollars. His advice and guidance in swapping out my hard drive and
...Anthony just saved me hundreds of dollars. His advice and guidance in swapping out my hard drive and his hours of hard work got me back up and running better and faster than new. I used to own a company with a complete tech support department. Anthony and his Team at RescueCom have helped me replicate that Department at home with 24-7 complete care and peace of mind. less
View all Google reviews

Featured in:


Feature Inthe New York TimesFOX NEWSUSA TodayComputer WorldCNNForbes