Monday, December 13, 2004
Google vs. Geico: Day One
The Geico trademark infringement lawsuit against Google began with opening arguements today, and lots of people are talking about it. Geico's opening statement was pretty by-the-numbers, pushing the common trademark-protecting claim that trademark confusion, seperate completely from any monetary affects on the trademark holder, is still illegal. In my inexpert legal opinion, a stronger case could be made that Google is selling Geico's trademark to advertisers, but Geico attorney Charles Ossola decided to go the road more traveled. Google counsel Michael Page argued that the practice of selling trademarked terms to competitors is no different from a supermarket handing out coupons for a competitor's products when a product is purchased. Geico is seeking $8.65 million in damages. The trial is expected to last three days, after which Judge Leonie Brinkema can issue a decision or take the matter under advisement.
The Unofficial Google Weblog, referring to Geico's claims of confusion, says:
Yes, the confusion… then the inevitable tears and remorse, the lost hours and wasted dreams. Thank you, Geico, for your noble protection of the common person.Gary Price of Search Engine Watch and Resource Shelf has posted the case docket here.
Yes, lost to competition. Heaven forbid that any company should capture market share through competitive advertising. The courts must intervene!
(via Associated Press, the Unoffical Google Weblog, Search Engine Lowdown, Search Engine Watch, Resource Shelf)