May 15, 2005
1. Click Fraud Collusion
A consortium of advertisers
(led by Lane's Collectibles)
have filed a class action suit in Arkansas
against Yahoo, Google and 9 other search engines in February, accusing the
Search companies of over pricing ads and colluding to keep ad prices high.
The lawsuit also alleges that Internet search engine companies knowingly
charged for fraudulent clicks.
In the pay-per-click model that
Google and Yahoo use, advertisers pay each time a user "clicks through" on
an ad listed alongside search engine results. But the number of clicks with
ill intents is rising. A fraudulent clicker can rack up fees for a business
rival or try to generate ad revenue for himself. Last November Google filed
a suit against Auctions Expert International LLC for clicking on ads Google
supplied to the company's site.
Click fraud has become a growing
problem in the search industry. Google even said it is "the biggest threat
to the Internet economy." Google and Yahoo won't give a public estimate of
the number of bad clicks. Some people estimate that between 5% and 13% of
all clicks are fraudulent and for some key words on certain search engines
as many as 80% of clicks might be fraudulent. Google refunds advertisers for
"unusual clicks" and "invalid click activity".
Lan's filed the lawsuit February
4 and the defendants on March 30 asked that the case be moved from state
court to federal court.
April 5, 2005:
Google and Yahoo! accused of click fraud collusion, The Register:
"Google, Yahoo! and other players in the search business have
become embroiled in a lawsuit which involves overcharging for
pay-per-click online advertising."
April 5, 2005:
Google & Co. im Zusammenhang mit Klickbetrug verklagt, Heise:
"In den USA sind insgesamt elf namhafte Internet-Firmen -- darunter
Google, Yahoo, AOL, Ask Jeeves, Lycos und Walt Disney Online -- wegen
angeblicher Unregelmäßigkeiten bei der Vermarktung von Online-Anzeigen
becomes "Google Mail" in Germany
Google has changed the name of their German
email service, because Daniel Giersch owns the rights to "G-Mail" in Germany
and has no plans to release the naming rights to Google.
Google will now call the German service "Google Mail".
happened to "We are not evil" - Google v. Froogles
The website froogles.com -
registered in December
2000 by Mr. Wolfe- seeks
to attract "frugal" shoppers by offering a wide variety of quality
merchandise at discounted or sale prices. In 2002 Google
launched a comparison-shopping
site of its own, called Froogle.com.
In Google's pending application
to register the mark FROOGLE in the United States Patent and Trademark
Office ("PTO"), Mr. Wolfe filed a Notice of Opposition on March 24, 2004,
thus angering Google.
Google asked an arbitration panel
of the ICANN (the domain name organization) to not allow to use the domain
because it was "confusingly similar" to Google. The panel ruled in Wolfe's
favour. According to the
panel, the froogles.com domain name is not confusingly similar to the
GOOGLE mark. The dissimilar letters in the domain name are sufficiently
different to make it distinguishable from the GOOGLE mark because the domain
name creates an entirely new word and conveys an entirely singular meaning
from the mark. The decision can be found at:
Google now has filed suit
against Froogles in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn alleging trademark
infringment. In the suit, Google claims that it is the "senior user of marks
that incorporate the formative " -- OOGLE" for Internet search services."
The Complaint can be found at:
4. The next AdWords trademark
lawsuit against Google!
Another Adwords lawsuit was
filed against Google by JTH Tax on April 4th. In February 2005 the plaintiff
learned that an use of its trademark "Liberty Tax Service" appeared in the title
of the online Google Ad Words ad that directs users to another website called
"Free Advice Center.com", which is a website unrelated to Liberty Tax Service.
Google did not respond to the demand to remove the link. Google's
trademark infringement policy
says that ads containing third party trademarks will be taken down. Why Google
didn't react in this case, remains unclear.
The lawsuit was brought before
the United States District Court Eastern District of Virginia Norfolk Devision.
The complaint can be found at:
5. Nissan.com Update
Nissan Motor is suing Nissan
Computer for Trademark Infringement, Trademark Dilution and CyberSquatting,
seeking 10 Million Dollars in damages. Links & Law has reported about the
Nissan.com case in the past (see
Update 25 for more details). The latest
development is as follows: The Nissan Motor Co appealed the summer 2004 decision
by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, firstly to
the Court of Appeals and then to the US Supreme Court. Both appeals have now
April 20, 2005:
Supreme Court rejects Nissan.com appeal, Out-Law.com:
"The US Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by car giant
Nissan Motor Co over the domain names Nissan.com and Nissan.net, following a
decision by a California Appeals Court not to order the transfer of the
domains, according to the Los Angeles Times."
New in Legal
Dockins, Michael. Comment. Internet links: the good, the bad, the tortious,
and a two-part test. 36 U. Tol. L. Rev. 367-404 (2005).
Hyperlinks and Law, MR-Int 2004, 17-20
report on the Liability of internet intermediaries, UOC, 2004
Weber, Rolf , Rechtsfragen rund um Suchmaschinen, ZIK Band 24, 2003
Elteste, Hyperlinks auf Konkurrenten, ITRB 2001, 210
Dippelhofer, Mischa, Haftung für Hyperlinks, 2004
New in Decisions
LG Hamburg, Decision of April 22, 2005, Az. 315 O 260/05
von Markennamen bei der Verwendung von
Doorway Pages /
gegen das Marken- und Wettbewerbsrecht
Beschluss im einstweiligen Rechtsschutz ohne Entscheidungsgründe)
Decision of March 7, 2005, Az: 21 O 3220/05
Urteil zum Verbot der Verlinkung der Webseite des Herstellers einer
Software zur Umgehung eines Kopierschutzes im Rahmen einer