Yahoo Sued By American Airlines

    October 21, 2008

Poor Yahoo.  As we all know, the company’s facing quite a few problems – a shrinking stock price, a skeptical Department of Justice, and so on – and now it’s been made the defendant in a trademark infringement case filed by American Airlines.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the Northern District of Texas despite both parties being based in California, claims, "Defendant’s search engine is being used . . . to mislead consumers and misappropriate American Airlines Marks by using them as ‘keyword’ triggers to paid advertisements and by using them within the text of paid advertisements."

Case Leaves Blogger
 Non-identical Search Term And Ad

As a result, American Airlines wants Yahoo to change its competitor keyword practices.  It’s also asking the court to award it restitution, punitive damages, legal costs, and "an amount sufficient to conduct a corrective advertising campaign."  Plus an apology/explanation on Yahoo’s sites.

American Airlines has been through this once before with Google.  That case was quietly settled, so it’s hard to know exactly what happened, but since ads no longer appear following a query for the company’s name, the airline seems to have gotten its way.  Eric Goldman suggests that we look for Yahoo to follow the same path rather than risk defeat and waste some time and money.

One last (and purely speculative) thing: Microsoft’s lawyers might want to keep an eye on the proceedings, too.  American Airlines almost seems to be working its way down the search line.