Google under siege – Sweeny Legal

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Google has attracted much controversy over its sale of sponsored links or promised to display pointers to websites or other advertisements when an Internet user searches for specific words. Suing over adword sales has become a common phenomena in North America.[1] The courts may have to take account that as the general population become more and more familiar with the internet and with search engines, such as Google, this notion of initial interest confusion or consumer confusion stemming from the sale of adwords might become ridiculous in itself.[2] Some studies have “demonstrated that only 18% of contemporary Web searches know when a link is paid, this seems to support a general finding of consumer confusion whenever a consumer inputs a trademarked term and ends up clicking through to a competitors website. However as consumers grow more aware that their searches will turn up sponsored links that are related to and not necessarily affiliated with, searched- for trademarked terms, claims regarding the likelihood of confusion should weaken”[3] To rectify this it has been recommended that we develop a safe harbour to internet exception in the trade mark context which would allow for the regulation of advertising on the Internet and reduce consumer diversion and confusion.[4]

An example would be Google has been the subject of much recent controversy over its search engine and whether the search engine is in breach of intellectual property law generally. Pornographer Perfect 10  alleges in its complaint against Google, direct and indirect copyright infringement, trademark infringement, dilution, circumvention, right of publicity, and the unthinkable, unfair competition. Perfect 10’s case alleges some third party sites are posting Perfect 10’s copyrighted images. But “because many of the Stolen Content Websites are judgment proof, it is economically and practically impossible to sue them for infringement of Perfect 10’s rights.” In other words, Google is a bigger, richer target for a lawsuit, so Perfect 10 claims it should be held responsible for the sites it links to, the images it indexes, and the keywords and site content of AdWords websites.[5]

[1] “Making your mark on Google” (2005) Harv. J.L. & Tech, p. 479

[2] Ibid p. 482

[3] Ibid

[4] Ibid

[5] “Perfect 10 takes aim at Google” accessed 23 September 2006

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Please contact Sweeny Legal  or Brandsworth Licensing should you require any assistance with any Trade Marks, Domain NamesIntellectual Property (IP) rights, Commercial Agreements of any type or IP Business and Commercial Strategies.

Phone: 02 4228 1864

Mobile: 0417 699 645

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1 Comment

Filed under Domain Names Law, Intellectual Property Law, Trade Marks Law

One response to “Google under siege – Sweeny Legal

  1. Pingback: Google Will Shut Down Alfred, The Local Recommendations App, July 19 | whatsweb

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