Uh Oh, Google Gets Geico: No Insurance Against Trademark Keying Policy

Jan 2005Modern Practice

Following a three day trial, a recent decision by the Eastern District of Virginia gave new life to the practice of trademark keying. In Geico v. Google (No. 1:04CV507), Judge Brinkema ruled from the bench that Geico "has not established that the mere use of [Geico's] trademark by Google as a search word or keyword or even using it in [Google's] AdWord program standing alone violates the Lanham Act."[1] This ruling counters a year-old Ninth Circuit decision in Playboy v. Excite case [2], which found that material issues of fact based on initial interest confusion precluded the search engines' motion for summary judgment regarding their trademark keying practices.

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