Since Geico decided to sue Google and Yahoo/Overture for infringing on its trademarks, there hasnt been much attention to how big this case really is and the precedent it will set.
If you do a search for top 100 keywords for the week here you will see the majority of the words are either copyrighted or trademarked.
Research shows that many inquiries at search engines are for brand names or trademarked terms. Within the finance category, for example, more than half the total searches are for branded keywords such as Wells Fargo, according to ComScore Networks, a market research company.
Companies/artists spend a great deal of time and money to build a brand. They spend millions of dollars in r/d (pharmaceuticals), hire the perfect spokesperson/ ad agency or find other ways to assure their brand is unique and known by its name.
A brand or trademark is in some ways, like a barrier to entry.
How right is it for Google, or any other search engine, to be able to generate revenues off of a brand name, let alone competitors to essentially use their brand to advertise.
Let the owner of yaho.com open a portal/search engine and see if Yahoo minds. Google already owns googel.com, they didnt take any chances.
But I see the major TV networks advertising their shows on competing cable channels, I dont understand the logic in that. But each party is aware of what/where they are advertising..so I guess thats fair.
Previously, Google had granted requests from advertisers, including 1-800 Contacts and eBay, to bar competitors from bidding on their trademarked names. Now why just these companies?
One author states that the TM owner doesnt own the keyword , well he sure should be able to control how its used.
This is a form of bait-and-switch advertising. The user knows what he wants, but the search engine is intentionally advertising a competitors product. More like the search versus navigate definition.
There are a couple of solutions.
There will be a way for every trademark owner to have a specific link to the URL of their choice..(there will be no confusion as to where the owner wants you to go, or who they want to have advertise on their behalf).A "word registry" is being created, that combines the TM with a barcode/created code, where there will be no doubt where the TM owner wants you to go.
The search engine would have to allow any search that uses a TM to have the TM owners site at the top of the search. If the users intent was to find Nike tennis shoes, then at the top of the search should be the site Nike chooses.
There's a fine line between knowing a specific brand and the products a brand name represents.
Like the author states, let the competition get creative and figure phrases that match the result.
Im curious to see how the little lizard makes out against Google and Yahoo.
Depending on the outcome,I betcha I know a certain company that wants a cut of the money Google, and others, have made off the Little Blue Pill
My guess is, that if Google loses this case to Geico, we will see a rise (I couldnt resist) in trademark suits and Google's ppc biz will be affected in a big way.
There is a way to make all parties happy though....coming soon.