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Google Faces Trademark Charges in Germany

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Google Faces Trademark Charges in Germany

Google, now allowing trademarked terms to be bidded upon in their Google AdWords, has opened the door for international lawsuits by companies who fall “victim” to Google letting other advertisers buy search keyword advertising which is served when users search for the trademarked company name or products. Similar to France, where Google’s use of registered trademarks as AdWord was taken to court by Luis Vuitton, the internet travel agency “Bourse des Vols” and the AXA insurance group as well as by the American Blind & Wallpaper Factory in the United States, the marketing strategy of Google Ad Words will now be legally verified in Germany.

metaspinner media GmbH already obtained a preliminary injunction against Google at Hamburg district court, but Google refused to accept this injunction as a final regulation. Google rather continued to use the trademark “Preispiraten” against the preliminary injunction. In doing so, Google actually published ads for direct competitors concerning metaspinner media’s product “www.metaspinner.de” as well as the company’s free price comparison software “Preispiraten” which can be downloaded at “www.preispiraten.de” and allows an easy and speedy comparison of prices in several online-auctioneers with those of more than 600 online shops.

This is the reason that causes metaspinner media to protest. “It shouldn’t be possible that the company’s considerable expenditures to build up the brand ‘Preispiraten’ are exploited and siphoned off by advertising third parties and particularly by Google,” says metaspinner media’s attorney Stefan Maas. Third parties are using a high ranking concerning the trademarks used as AdWords, and on the other hand Google itself draws profit from these AdWords. So the benefits of both parties are based exclusively on the accomplishments of the trademark owner.

To prevent further infringements of rights and to sustain the preliminary injunction metaspinner media’s law office maas_rechtsanwaelte brought suit at Hamburg district court.

This will lead to the presumably first legal proceedings in Germany, where trademark and competition rights will face Google’s extraordinary lucrative marketing strategy. “Especially concerning its announced IPO, Google should clarify the legal foundation of its AdWord system,” says Christoph Berndt, CEO of metaspinner media GmbH. The court will have to clarify whether Google is justified to use registered trademarks and names for its own advertising and marketing purposes without authorization.

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Loren Baker

Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing ... [Read full bio]

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