A US district court judge has ruled against Google and found that there was infringement where the terms “Geico” and “Geico Direct” were used in the text of sponsored ads. This new ruling emphasizes that the infringement breach refers only to sponsored links that use Geico’s trade marks and does not conflict with the previous ruling in December.
The previous ruling stated that there was no trademark infringement when competitor ads are show for a trademarked term keyword. For instance Google can display various auto insurance ads for a search on “Geico”, but Google cannot display ads containing Geico’s trademarks in the ad’s text.
According to the article in The Register, Geico and Google will be given 30 days to settle. If they do not settle within 30 days, they will go back to trial to see if Google or Google’s advertisers will be liable. If advertisers are deemed liable, search engine marketers will need to be very careful about running ad campaigns with trademarked terms in the ad text.