Monday, August 20, 2007
American Airlines sues Google over Sponsored Links & Key Word Ads
American Airlines has filed Suit against Google in USDC, Northern District, Texas alleging that the Internet Giant has infringed on its Trademark for permitting rivals to purchase key word ads.
The suit filed last week seeks unspecified monetary damages against Google for allowing visitors to see sponsored Links who Google certain key phrases.
In previous suits filed against the Internet Giant, other companies have lost when Courts decided that consumers were not confused by such ads. Google has previously prevailed in cases against both Rescuecom (though being Appealed in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Ct.) American Blinds have a similar case pending.
Google says that, "We are confident that our trademark policy strikes a proper balance between Trademark owners interest and consumer choice, that position has been validated by previous Court decisions."
Terrence Ross, Atty for American Airlines who has lost previous Trademark Infringement Cases for Wells Fargo and 1-800-Contacts that he has brought for his clients, acknowledges that the suit against Google is an uphill battle.
Often times these law suits are more expensive than they are worth and it may be difficult for the Plaintiff to even demonstrate how they may have suffered any damages.
American Airlines has a loyalty program through its Advantage Program which prevents customers from switching brands unlike Travelocity or Orbitz that encourage price comparison shopping. Whenever I've wanted to purchase Airline Tickets on-line I personally have purchased from American Airlines being a long term Advantage Member & Lifetime Admirals Club Member. The other ads by other companies have never influenced my purchasing decisions.
While preparing this article I Googled "AA.com" and while "CheapAir.com" & "Cheapair-fareis.com" popped up under Sponsored Links, I would have personally ignored those ads and stuck with my old faithful friend, American Airlines my carrier of choice.