Do Trademark Holders Have the Right to a Google Listing?
Now it’s seeing it all in one law suit–and there’s an added twist!
Ascentive is claiming–among other things–that "Google’s refusal to list Ascentive’s website in its natural search result listings violates the Lanham Act." I have no idea what that means, but fortunately Eric Goldman does:
The complaint doesn’t explain this allegation thoroughly, but the theory seems to be that consumers expect to see the trademark owner in organic search results for the trademark and therefore consumers will be actionably confused if the trademark owner doesn’t appear there.
How’s that for grasping at straws? It seems as though this complaint is a non-starter, but that may not stop some naive judge from agreeing with the plaintiff–at least in the lower courts.
What do you think? Has Google become so dominant that it has a legal obligation to index the web site of an official trademark holder?