Google search results not a trademark infringement

Mercury News reports:

A federal judge granted Google a significant victory Thursday, ruling that the search engine did not violate federal law when it sold trademarked terms in an online advertising auction.

Judge Norman Mordue, of the U.S. District Court, northern district of New York, dismissed a suit brought against Google by Rescuecom, a computer repair and consulting business. . . .

The ruling states that Google’s use of trademarked terms to trigger online advertisements doesn’t violate trademark law because “there is no allegation that the defendant places plaintiff’s trademark on any goods, containers, displays, or advertisements, or that its internal use is visible to the public.'”

In other words, Google’s use of the trademarks was not “trademark use.” This is going to have to be resolved at a higher level at some point, because even I find this to be a very narrow reading of the Lanham Act, and I’m not alone.
UPATE:  See Eric Goldman.  He likes the decision.

Ron Coleman

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