Google is facing an attempt to file a class action lawsuit over its US policy of allowing companies to use trade marks they don't own to trigger their internet adverts. If it gathers enough participants, the suit could be costly for the search giant. Class action law suits are US legal cases in which many companies or people in …
All power to them !
Great stuff - it'll keep the layers amused for a long time as well.
It's going to come down to "internationality" isn't it. Even in the UK we can have several companies with very similar or the same "key" name. So who's going to be the one that can use the name in Google Adwords?
Firepond are now called FPX (?!) and they seem to have some problems of their own:
" A former executive of Firepond Inc., a company formerly headquartered in Waltham, was arrested Tuesday as he attempted to enter the United States at the Lewiston Bridge in Niagara Falls, N.Y.
James E. Reid allegedly faked $4.8 million in deals, forged customer signatures and was paid $156,000 in commissions for one of the deals, according to a federal indictment. "
May no be illegal, but its certainly evil...
There's a kind of blackmail there - its spend money with us to protect your trademark or else someone else will be using it to benefit their business...
The domainance of the advertising model on income from the net seems to me to be getting very unhealthy... It means that income tends to go not to the creators but to those who prey off them...
Clear breach of trademark
The precedent was set in English law by an action between pharmaceutical firms when a brandname was used by a competitor in an ad that read like "X replaces Carter's Little Liver Pills and costs less". The trademark owner sued successfully on grounds that their name was being used commercially without permission. For decades afterwards UK advertisers avoided comparison ads that named competitors.
Comparison ads began to reappear in the 1970s but I suspect that the advertisers ensured that the use of a brand was relevant to a substantiable comparison -- not just a blatant use of one brand to promote another.
If Google are using brand name searches to divert potential customers to a competitor who has paid Google they may may not escape the legal precedent set in Edwardian times.
Strike one for the...
lawyers. Those buggers will be the catalyst for Ragnarok I have no doubt
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