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There has been a lot of news over the years about Google and trademark infringement. The issue is that Google allows people to purchase keywords with registered U.S. trademarks. For instance, if you own the trademark “Joe’s Crunchy Chicken”, and someone purchases the keyword “Joe’s Crunchy Chicken” to advertise their website, this may result in a case of trademark infringement.

Because this type of advertising on the Internet is relatively new, trademarked keywords create a gray area when it comes to trademark law. There have been many court cases related to Google and the sale of trademarked keywords to companies besides the trademark owner. While Google has won some cases, it has lost some cases as well, and there is no telling how a case of infringement may conclude.

If you feel that Google or any other Internet search engine is infringing upon your trademark by selling your trademarked keywords to your competitors, you may send them a letter to cease and desist from infringement. If the infringement continues, you may choose to pursue the issue in a formal court of law.

In a trademark infringement lawsuit, you will have to show: 

  • that a likelihood of confusion exists between the other company’s mark and your registered mark;
  • that infringement has created a secondary meaning for your mark; and
  • that the mark was used in commerce.

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To learn about protecting your trademarks, contact us today at 1-800-976-4904.

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By Charles Internicola December 23, 2010

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