Big Win For Google Adwords Litigation

Here’s an interesting blog post regarding Google’s recent victory in a federal trademark case with the Rosetta Stone company. The Rosetta Stone folks contended that Google’s sale of the Rosetta Stone mark as part of its Adwords program violated Rosetta Stone’s trademark rights. The Adwords program is where Google auctions off words and phrases to businesses. When a Google user incorporates that particular word or phrase in a search, it triggers an ad for the other company’s product. The Virginia based federal court granted Google summary judgment. The link gives a great explanation of the court’s reasoning, but a key part of the reason is that Google itself is not offering to sell a product that competes with Rosetta Stone. So the court concluded that there was not attempt to “palm off” a knockout product. Once a court adopts that view, it makes it very tough to pin trademark liability on Google. And that seems to be the trend.