Posted April 19, 2007 11:13 am by with 1 comment

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Despite winning many other trademark lawsuits, Google is finding it tough going in their battle with American Blind & Wallpaper.

A US judge has refused Google’s recent request to dismiss the case.

In making his decision to allow the case to move forward, U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled the public has an interest in whether AdWords, the company’s popular pay-per-click advertising system, violates U.S. trademark law.

It wasn’t a complete loss for Google as they still have a motion for sanctions before another judge.

“Judge Fogel rightfully concluded that they did not prove that two of their marks are protectable, and we are confident that they will be unable to prove their remaining claims at trial,” Michael Kwun, Google’s litigation counsel said in a statement.

  • Andy, I don’t believe Google is going to fare too well in a jury trial. When Google loses this or another upcoming trademark lawsuit, they will be impacted, but still very profitable. The majority of Adwords revenue comes from advertising on generic phrases like “window blinds” versus trademarks like “American Blind.”

    I believe Comscore had it pegged at around 60% of revenues are derived from non-branded keywords.

    Incidentally, some companies decide not to implement the current trademark policy because they may not have a vested interest in a reseller market, this choice should continue to be left to the trademark holder. The auto industry is a good example, and Ford does not implement the trademark policy on the trademarked phrase “used Ford F150″ because they encourage dealerships and aggregators to handle the used vehicle market.

    What eventually will happen in the U.S. and Canada, and has already taken place in Europe, is that search engines will be required by law to completely prevent unauthorized parties from even placing ads on federally protected trademarks.

    The real issue here is how “generic” can a phrase be to be allowed trademark status. Let’s look at the company, Discount Tire. People don’t normally search for “discount tire” unless they are looking for the company, Discount Tire. The generic phrase people tend to search for is “discount tires” with an ’s.’

    This is where things can get heated. How does the USPTO determine if a phrase is too generic to be trademarked?

    …frequently asked questions about the Google Lawsuit