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

Michael Bender
Michael Bender
in the last week
The most awesome professional service. They fixed major issues
...The most awesome professional service. They fixed major issues less
Joyce Kelly
Joyce Kelly
a month ago
What a great experience I had with Roy tonight! My computer was hacked and he worked through gettin
...What a great experience I had with Roy tonight! My computer was hacked and he worked through getting everything restored with great competence and we had a great time chatting as we got through it. He also gave me some great tips on keeping my personal information safe, which I greatly appreciated. I also had the pleasure of speaking with David Millner and he assured me from the start that they would fix the problem and they have! I have truly enjoyed this first experience with this company and hope I have many more! less
James Skaggs
James Skaggs
a month ago
In my conversations with David & Roy, (very professional in knowledge and listening to my compla
...In my conversations with David ~amp~ Roy, (very professional in knowledge and listening to my complaint and solving it to a very professional level is OUTSTANDING! My hat is off to these folks. I highly recommend them to anyone that has a computer problem/s. less
David Kisyua
David Kisyua
4 months ago
very professional, efficient, excellent quality serviceI highly recommend David Milman and his team
...very professional, efficient, excellent quality serviceI highly recommend David Milman and his team without reservations. less
View all Google reviews

Featured in:


Feature Inthe New York TimesFOX NEWSUSA TodayComputer WorldCNNForbes