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Rosetta Stone Battles Google In Court Over Trademark Infringement

July 11, 2009

Rosetta Stone, a language-learning software producer, recently filed suit against Google’s AdWords online advertising program for infringing its trademark, AFP reported.

The company claims the Internet search giant is wrongly allowing its name and other trademarks to serve as keywords that other businesses can use to target paid advertisements to people on the web.

Google said its policy is to allow trademarks to be used to target AdWords advertising.

Andrew Pederson, a Google spokesman, said the company allows trademarks to be used as keyword triggers in AdWords because users searching on Google benefit from being able to choose from a variety of competing advertisers.

Pederson said providing users on Google with more than one option when they search for a brand name or other trademark helps them to find the best product at the lowest price.

Similar lawsuits, which have yet to be resolved in court, have been filed against Google in the past.

Google said in May it made efforts to become more in line with U.S. industry standards by adjusting its trademark policy in AdWords to allow some ads to use trademarks without permission.

Dan Friedman, a crew member for Inside AdWords, told Google advertisers in a May message at the firm’s official blog that the change would offer them the opportunity to provide users with more relevant information, choice and options while respecting the interests of trademark owners.

But Rosetta Stone argues that Google’s policy results in consumers being deceived or confused by the ads.

Rosetta Stone general counsel Michael Wu said Google’s search engine is helping third parties mislead consumers and misappropriate Rosetta Stone trademarks.

Wu stated that Google and its advertisers benefit financially from and trade off the goodwill and reputation of Rosetta Stone without incurring the substantial expense that Rosetta Stone has incurred in building up its popularity, name recognition, and brand loyalty.

Rosetta Stone’s lawsuit seeks to bar Google from using the firm’s trademark in AdWords.

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