Confusion about the GEICO v. Google ruling

It seems that the recent release of a written decision in the GEICO v. Google case has spurred many industry watchers to say that there’s a new ruling against Google. That’s just not the case. What really happened was that the judge took 8 months to write down the same ruling she made in December. What both decisions say, essentially, is that the infringement of GEICO’s trademarks does not take place when Google allows advertisers to bid on them.

The infringement comes only when advertisers use the trademarked terms in the ad copy itself — a practice which Google has never allowed, and attempts to police.

As we reported in December, the decision is mostly a win for Google. The only thing left to decide is who is responsible for the trademarked terms in ad copy. Even if Google is found responsible, it’s not likely to affect their business, since they have always taken steps to limit that practice.

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