Friday, September 03, 2004
Geico Gets The Go-Ahead To Sue Google And Overture
Geico received the okay from the U.S. District Court to sue Google and Overture for selling advertisements linked to their trademarks, CNET reports.
I can see their point. Although the first reaction is that Google is just selling ads, free speech, yada yada, I realized that trademark law is meant to give trademarks some value. If every trademark can link to competitors on a service that runs an enormous percentage of internet traffic, those trademarks become useless.
And it's more than just that. In the law, as I learnt in a Constitutional Law class some time ago, is all about consistency. Every ruling requires the judge to think about other cases in the future, and how this ruling will affect those. At some point, some search engine will decide to accept money for a trademark in the search results. It will take money to push a trademark further down or off the listings, and the company paying them higher up. If the judge rules in favor of Google, it is possible that the company in my theoretical case would actually be allowed by law to do what it is doing.
Furthermore, Google is selling another company's trademark. Under no circumstances is that okay. That would be like if I decided to sell Pepsi use of the word "Coca-Cola".
For all these reasons and more, I believe Google is going to lose this case.