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Protecting what is yours

A few weeks ago, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that language software maker Rosetta Stone could proceed with its lawsuit against Google over whether an Internet advertising program creates brand confusion.

In 2009, Rosetta Stone sued Google in the federal court claiming  Google’s AdWords advertising program unlawfully allowed the use of trademarks in the text of ads that accompany Google search results. Rosetta discovered that Internet consumers were purchasing counterfeit versions of its software.

Rosetta Stone’s counsel said pleased with the ruling and that it set a very important precedent. Google’s AdWords advertising program offers companies the opportunity to buy advertisements that run with a Google search engine’s results. Companies “purchase” certain keywords that trigger the inclusion of the their advertisement.

In 2009, Google began allowing the limited use of trademarks in advertising text, which it had earlier prohibited. While Google expected increased legal expenses stemming from future disputes with owners of trademarks, the company also anticipated a boost in revenue.

Rosetta Stone sued on claims that included direct trademark infringement. The company’s case-in-chief presented survey and anecdotal evidence that would-be customers were buying fake Rosetta software via Google advertisements. It will be interesting to watch this matter go to trial.

What are your thoughts? How will this affect monetization not only on a large-scale platform such as Google, but on smaller platoforms, such as blogs?