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In the run-up to the Facebook IPO, some observers are casting a skeptical eye towards the social network's advertising business. Ads, not surprisingly, account for much of the company's revenue, and there are certainly some areas of concern.
But if two lawyers have their way, Facebook's virtual currency business, which many believe is also crucial to the company's future, could be facing major challenges.
In 2009, the British High Court was asked to weigh in on the long-standing dispute between Interflora and Marks and Spencer, which centered on Marks and Spencer's bidding on 'Interflora' as a Google AdWords keyword. It referred the matter to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
The Advocate General ECJ has finally answered: Marks and Spencer violated Interflora's trademark.
Interested in taking a trip back to the 1960s and 70s? You had better download individual tracks of your favorite Pink Floyd songs quickly.
Thanks to a High Court ruling that gave Pink Floyd a small victory over record label EMI in a battle over millions in royalties, individual tracks of the legendary rock band's music could potentially leave the digital world at some point.
The proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit over Google Books has proven to be quite controversial. Amazon, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are among those questioning the proposed settlement. On the other side, Sony, the Computer & Communication Industry Association and the Authors Guild are among those supporting the settlement.
Opponents claim that the settlement will give Google a virtual monopoly over online books. Supporters claim that the settlement will benefit consumers and does not preclude others from competing in the market.
In May 2008, Google began permitting advertisers in the UK and Ireland to bid on trademark keywords through AdWords. Needless to say, this concerned and upset many brand marketers at the time.
Yet there appeared to be little that could be done. Google's policy change was predicated on the notion that legal questions over the use of trademark keywords in the UK had been settled.
This week Google was sued by Lending Tree, a company whose website enables consumers looking for mortgages and other loans to connect with lenders. LendingTree alleges that Google is planning to launch an online loan exchange of its own and that it will use technology provided by one of LendingTree's vendor. The problem: LendingTree alleges the vendor is contractually forbidden from working with LendingTree competitors, which LendingTree clearly believes Google is.
For its part, Google says that it's simply "working on a small ad unit test that will run against a limited number of mortgage-related search queries in the U.S." So while we don't yet have enough in the way of hard facts to evaluate the merits of LendingTree's claims, the lawsuit raises an interesting question: what if Google gets into the lead gen business?
Just how much was Facebook willing to pay to settle the lawsuit alleging that founder Mark Zuckerberg had stolen the concept and some code from fellow Harvard classmates Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and Divya Narendra?
That was the $64m question that appeared would never be answered given the secrecy around the settlement.
A visitor to a web site is just that: a visitor. Not a unique visitor.
Anyone using a web analytics package is doubtless familiar with the difference, but now it's legally official. A New York Surpeme Court judge made the ruling in favor of WebMD which has been embroiled in a $350,000 lawsuit with RDA over the subtlties of the terms.
Seems RDA had placed several insertion orders with WebMD, including one that guaranteed WebMD would send 36,000 "visitors" to an RDA-run site.
RDA insisted what the contract actually meant (as opposed to what it actually said) was "unique visitors."