Friday, May 21, 2004

Here we go again - Geico sues Google over ad practices

Geico had filed suit against Google, alleging that they are causing consumer confusion by allowing advertisers to use their name on ads. Before today, when you searched Google for "Geico," you'd have noticed that on the right side of the search page where text ads, several of which were titled "Geico." They have since been removed.

These ads were for brokers for 3rd party insurance underwriters, including Geico. It would be a nominative fair use of the trademark if the companies were using the mark to identify their product, but not if selling Geico insurance is only one among the many things they do, and not prominent among them. It is apparent here that they are merely trying to appropriate the goodwill Geico has built up (read name recognition).

Google has been fighting off such lawsuits for sometime. It is apparent that if certain precedent comes out of one of these cases Google's business model may be at risk. Bring it on Warren Buffett.

Via The Trademark Blog.


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