Today a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that AOL Inc cannot stop Advertise.com Inc (known to many in the search industry as ABCSearch) from using a brand name similar to Advertising.com, an AOL property and decade old ad network.
This is a pretty interesting ruling, not only in the world of competitive advertising, as Advertise.com positions itself to be like Advertising.com, and the room for confusion is very wide. But also in the world of domaining and trademarks, as the ruling states that “Advertising.com” mark is generic enough not to warrant protection. Speaking from experience, it’s very tough to land a trademark ruling for a generic term (like “advertising” or “search engine journal”) as opposed to a unique name or brand (like “Ruffles” or “Google”).
More from Jonathan Stempel @ Reuters / Yahoo :
The term Advertising.com conveys “only the generic nature” of the services offered and that it is “certainly highly unlikely that consumer surveys or other evidence might ultimately demonstrate that AOL’s mark is valid and protectable.”
Have you ever gotten Advertising.com and Advertise.com mixed up?