May 5, 2010 (CAP News Wire) – Internet marketing juggernaut Google and its AdWords advertising division scored another big legal win this week, this time against popular foreign language educational provider Rosetta Stone.
Rosetta Stone had attempted to sue Google for its AdWords practices, which allow competitors to purchase ads that then show up in searches for other companies’ names. The company stated that its court loss would “‘permit Google to continue to create consumer confusion’ by allowing counterfeit products to be sold using its trademarks,” reports the Associated Press (via the Las Vegas Sun).
“Rosetta Stone said that Google knows counterfeit software is being advertised using its AdWords system and takes no effective steps to stop the activity,” the article adds.
So is this a victory for freedom of online advertising, or a blow to fair branding practices? Google maintains that “the use of trademarks as search words that trigger competing ads” is legal. And this claim is consistently supported in courts, both in the U.S. and the EU.
“Users searching on Google benefit from being able to choose from a variety of competing advertisers and we found no evidence that legitimate use of trademarks as keyword triggers or in the text of advertisements confuses consumers,” said Google’s senior litigation counsel, Adam Barea, in the AP article.
Google has also stated that it employs a team of monitors to ensure that ads for fraudulent companies, or those selling counterfeit items, are pulled quickly.
Online casino affiliates in the U.S. are basically forbidden from using Google AdWords because it doesn’t allow Internet gambling-related advertising. Still, most affiliates have other niches in the works for which they do use AdWords, and besides that, when online gambling is regulated, Google AdWords is likely to suddenly become the hottest online advertising venue going. Keeping tabs on Google’s legal maneuverings may help grant insight into how to successfully advertise on Google AdWords in the present or future, as necessary.