Google heading for global trademark storm
Posted in: Legal, Privacy & Security at 10/05/2009 20:41
The internet search engine giant Google has announced that it will extend to 194 countries a scheme that allows companies to use their rivals' trademarks for online advertising. Google will no longer consider requests from brand owners to take down "Sponsored Links" that use their trademarks to sell rival or even counterfeit goods.
Google's main search function is not affected, but in countries outside the UK, users can now expect to see sponsored links on the top and right from companies that may be unaffiliated with the main search term.
Google lets advertisers buy rivals' trade marks as keywords in 194 countries
Google has increased by 190 the number of countries in which advertisers will be able to pay for their ads to appear when a rival's trade mark is typed into its search engine. That policy previously only applied in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland.
Google will still investigate the use of trade marked terms to trigger adverts in every EU member state apart from the UK and Ireland, and in some other countries including China, New Zealand and Australia.
Google's Big Fat Looming Antitrust Problem
Google which has never been one to show much regard for Microsoft, could well be feeling sympathetic toward Redmond now that it finds itself under the antitrust gun.
Microsoft has been beleaguered by antitrust investigations in the U.S. and Europe for decades. To be sure, Microsoft brought much of that regulatory attention on itself -- but its supporters will say, with some justification, that the more recent investigations have been gratuitous.