Reuters just came out with this:
ALEXANDRIA (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a key element of insurer GEICO’s trademark infringement case against online search engine Google Inc (GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research) .
U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema ruled that there was not enough evidence of trademark violation to bar Google from displaying rival insurers when computer users search the word “GEICO.”
From the AP:
Geico claimed that Google’s AdWords program, which displays the rival ads under a “Sponsored Links” heading next to a user’s search results, causes confusion for consumers and illegally exploits Geico’s investment of hundreds of millions of dollars in its brand.
“There is no evidence that that activity alone causes confusion, ” Brinkema said, in granting Google’s motion for summary judgment on that issue.
But Brinkema said the case would continue to move forward on one remaining issue, whether ads that pop up and actually use Geico in their text violate trademark law.
More as this develops…
PS – Watch GOOG. It was down before the news broke but is trending back up…