WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- A U.S. District Court judge ruled today
that GEICO, in its case against Google, "established a likelihood of
confusion, and therefore a violation of the Lanham Act, solely with regard to
those Sponsored Links that use GEICO's trademarks in their headings or text."
The court stayed the trial for 30 days to give the parties an opportunity to
settle. If the parties do not settle, the trial will continue as to the
amount of damages and on the issue of who is liable: Google, or the
advertisers on Google.
Judge Brinkema in her written decision held that the use of GEICO's
trademarks in paid advertisements violates the law. "The written decision
leaves open the issue of whether the sale and use of trademarks by search
engines and advertisers to trigger ads that do not contain other parties'
trademarks violates the law," said Charles Davies, GEICO's General Counsel.
"In light of this decision, search engines and their advertisers should
consider their potential liability if they intend to use other companies'
trademarks in paid search advertising."
"GEICO will continue to aggressively enforce its trademark rights against
purchasers of its trademarks on search engines and against search engines that
sell GEICO's trademarks to advertisers," Davies stated. "We continue to
believe that the sale of GEICO's trademarks to its competitors is wrong and a
violation of federal and state law and look forward to litigating that issue
in future cases."