NEW YORK– LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – In a case that may have widespread ramifications for Google and any company that advertises though its Adwords program, yesterday a United States District Court judge rejected Google’s latest attempt to throw out a landmark trademark infringement lawsuit brought by American Blind & Wallpaper Factory Inc. (ABWF), represented Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.
The Court ruled that the case will proceed to a jury trial on most of ABWF’s claims, marking the first time Google will face a jury in an Adwords trademark dispute. According to SEC filings, Google’s Adwords advertising program accounts for over 98% of Google’s $11 billion in annual revenues.
ABWF, a leading company in the sale of custom window blinds and treatments and wall coverings, which charges that Google has violated the trademark laws by allowing rival competitors of ABWF to buy the company’s name, and other trademarks, as so-called “keyword” search terms in order to appear as the top listing on Google’s search results page. Courts in France and elsewhere have ruled this practice to be illegal, but to date the question has not yet been presented to a jury in the United States.
In denying the key elements of a summary judgment motion brought by Google and allowing the case to go to jury, Judge Jeremy Fogel found that “the evidence suggest that Google used [ABWF’s] mark with the intent to maximize its own profit.” This is the second time that the court has rejected Google’s attempt to have the case dismissed.
Judge Fogel also observed that “the large number of businesses and users affected by Google’s Adwords program indicates that a significant public interest exists in determining whether the Adwords program violates trademark law.”
“The case also carries implication for other global companies who resent Google’s profiting off the sale of their brand names and trademarks,” says David Rammelt, a Partner at Kelley Drye who headed the team representing ABWF in the case. “We are gratified that our client will get its day in court, and that Google will finally face a jury for its trafficking in other companies’ intellectual property.”
Joel Levine, President and CEO of ABWF, stated, “There is a reason why we have trademark laws. They protect people. Google should not have greater rights than other business in the United States; it should not be able to trample the rights of business owners just because it is a large, powerful company.”
Kelley Drye’s David Rammelt is available to comment on this case and its ramifications. Mr. Rammelt can be reached on 312-857-7077.
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, founded more than 165 years ago, is an international, multidisciplinary law firm with eight offices and affiliate offices worldwide. For more information about Kelley Drye, please visit www.kelleydrye.com.