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

E. Caldwell
E. Caldwell
in the last week
Rescue SAVED MY LIFE!!! Hallelujah for them! I have a business & I participate in other activit
...Rescue SAVED MY LIFE!!! Hallelujah for them! I have a business ~amp~ I participate in other activities. I've worked w/ Bill the most -- very professional individual. Thx U Bill, David, Forrester, ~amp~ all you guys. I don't know what I would have done w/o you. less
Sabrina Ali
Sabrina Ali
in the last week
My experience was wonderful. Bill was patient and accommodating. The issue I had, he resolved it. It
...My experience was wonderful. Bill was patient and accommodating. The issue I had, he resolved it. It was a pleasure working with him. less
marjorie gaitan
marjorie gaitan
in the last week
Thank you William at Rescuecom for addressing and resolving my issues.
...Thank you William at Rescuecom for addressing and resolving my issues. less
Howard Reviews
Howard Reviews
a week ago
Rescuecom has been the most professional and knowledgeable group that I have ever dealt with in rega
...Rescuecom has been the most professional and knowledgeable group that I have ever dealt with in regard to my major computer problems.David, Bill and Forrest have helped fix my computer issues which other companies couldn't fix.I was glad i signed up with Rescuecom after researching many other computer companies. Thanks again guys. less
View all Google reviews

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