Google Scores Advantage in Online Marketing Legal Case
March 6, 2010 (CAP Newswire) – Google continues to come out ahead in its pending Google AdWords legal cases. This week, a U.S. judge dismissed most of a lawsuit against the online marketing company’s flagship Google AdWords program, in the process possibly setting an important legal precedent that may help the company dismiss similar lawsuits in the future.
The case was filed in California, where businessman Daniel Jurin sued Google AdWords for “trademark infringement, false advertising, interference with contractual relations, and other counts”, according to MediaPost.com’s Wendy Davis. Jurin’s complaint was that, in Google searches for his trademarked company, StyroTrim, pay-per-click ads from competitors were triggered, thus allowing competing businesses to advertise online using his brand name.
But most of the claims were dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Morrison England. The judge wrote that customers are (or should be) perfectly aware that sponsored links are not true search results, and, furthermore, that Google is clearly selling ad space, not content or keywords. Google “does not provide the content of the ‘Sponsored Link’ advertisements,” England wrote. “It provides a space and a service and thereafter charges for its service.”
Worse for Jurin, the judge also ordered him to pay Google $6,000 in attorneys’ fees for having filed a case that was “virtually identical” to the one in question!
The decision isn’t total; part of the lawsuit is still in action. But the bulk of the complaint appears to be dismissed, and overall Google has scored a nice victory here. However, the dismissal didn’t affect the trademark infringement claim, which still looms ominously for Google. The company currently faces 10 AdWords-related trademark infringement cases in other venues, even though another of those was recently dismissed after a six-year court battle, as MediaPost also relates.
Nonetheless, for online marketers who rely on Google AdWords, this development is good news, and should help keep that service humming along as usual.