Google Didn’t Lose Google vs. Geico

    August 17, 2005

As far as Judge Brinkema was and is concerned, using trademarked keywords in an ad serving system to trigger relevant, non-deceptive ads is perfectly legal. Google won that case.

But as MediaPost reports, the Geico spin machine has tried to paint things differently, emphasizing the minor aspect of the case, keywords which actually appear in the ads. Google accepts that trademarked keywords don’t generally belong in competitors’ ads, and has systems in place to facilitate review of such violations.

At some point along the line, someone at a conference or luncheon is going to tell you that Geico won that case. It isn’t so.

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Andrew Goodman is Principal of Page Zero Media, a marketing consultancy which focuses on maximizing clients’ paid search marketing campaigns.

In 1999 Andrew co-founded, an acclaimed “guide to portals” which foresaw the rise of trends such as paid search and semantic analysis.