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American Airlines has become the most high-profile company so far to sue Google over brand-bidding on its search platform.
The airline, the world’s largest, claims Google violated trademark law when selling ads alongside terms like American Airlines and AA.com.
Its lawsuit, filed in Texas last week, says the firm objects to...
“…efforts by certain companies to free ride on American Airlines’ brands through use of Google’s technology.”
Google, according to American Airlines, refused to settle before the case went to court – which is not that surprising, considering the search firm has won similar disputes in the US already.
In 2004, a judge in Virginia dismissed a suit brought against Google by insurance company Geico, saying it was legal for trademarks to be used as the basis for search ads. The two companies later settled a dispute over competitors’ use of Geico’s trademarks in the text of their ads.
A spokesman for American Airlines told AP:
"When done right, search is a great tool, but we have a problem with this part of their business.”
But Google said it was…
… "confident that our trademark policy strikes a proper balance between trademark owners' interests and consumer choice, and that our position has been validated by decisions in previous trademark cases."