Thursday, January 20, 2005

Google and trade mark infringement

Interesting case just decided in a French court. As I understand these things, Google makes truckloads of money from advertisers who buy space on the ad bar whenever someone types in the particular search term the advertiser has bought.

In this case, if the particular search term being bought is a trade mark, this constitutes infringement. So, if I were the ad agency for 'Happy Cola' and I bought space when someone searched 'Coke', I would be guilty of trade mark infringement and dilution.

Following the links in that article, this was not the view taken in a Viriginian Court. In America, it remains perfectly ok to do this.

It will be interesting to see which view emerges dominant, as Google could lose a fortune if it cannot link to any trade marked word or phrase.

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