Google Geico Trademark Suit Settled Out of Court
CNN reports the remainder of the landmark trademark case between GEICO and Google was settled out of court: GEICO, the No. 4 U.S. auto insurer and a unit of investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Research), said a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia was “resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties.”
Google has allowed rival insurance companies to bid on the term GEICO to target pay per click ads. Some rivals also included the term in the ad copy. In the past a US district court judge ruled against allowing trademark terms in ad copy, but as of today I still see three insurance companies listed in AdWords when you search Google for [GEICO].
If you bid on competing company names recognize that it is viewed as being somewhat aggressive by many business owners, and some of them may:
* bid on your name
* spread hate messages about you or your company
* send bogus C&D or lawsuits your way
* try to undermine your business in other ways
The settlement terms were confidential. The article also stated that these settlement types usually involve money. No doubt this is huge for Google, as it further validates their business model. Not sure if this will pan out, but some search marketer might do well to run an ad on Google triggered by GEICO today. Daventics got a bunch of link popularity by doing so in the past.
Aaron Wall is a Search Engine Marketing expert and the publisher of the SEOBook.