Virginia Federal district
Judge Leonie M. Brinkema will be presiding during day one of the Geico
vs. Google court trial this morning. The car insurance company is suing
the search engine giant for copyright infringement. The court decision
of this legal fist fight over advertising placement alongside search
results threatens to change the way Google successfully conducts online
Geico is suing Google (news
quote) for strategically placing advertisements of other competing
car insurance companies alongside search results displayed when
conducting a search with �Geico� as the keyword. In addition to suing
Google, the car insurance is also accusing Web portal Yahoo! and paid
listings provider Overture for placing paid ad listings from other car
insurance companies next to the Geico search results. Yahoo!,
quote) along with Overture settled with Geico two weeks ago. Terms
of that settlement were not released at press time.
It was reported that Google
contends its keyword bidding mechanism only lets rivals compete fairly.
In an attempt to dismiss the case before trial, Google presented a
motion that said: "Stripped of its high-tech trappings, Geico alleges
only that Google permits its advertisers to compete head-to-head with
Geico, by targeting their advertisements at potential Geico customers."
Google's motion to dismiss the case without a trial was rejected by
Judge Brinkema. The judge announced: "When defendants sell the rights to
link advertising to plaintiff's trademarks, defendants are using the
trademarks in commerce in a way that may imply that defendants have
permission from the trademark holder to do so."
business model is definitely being discussed in court today. The model
succeeded in raising the company�s revenue to a whopping $806 million
during this year�s third quarter. It looks like Google might be asked to
change its business practices dramatically if the Judge rules in favor
This trial should last until
the end of this week, and will be held without a jury. I will definitely
keep you posted as soon as any new developments in this case and a final
Judge ruling become available.
|Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was
assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She
can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com