July 06, 2009
Seventh Lawsuit Over Google AdWords--Jurin v. Google
By Eric Goldman
Jurin v. Google, Inc., CV 09-03934 (C.D. Cal. complaint filed June 2, 2009)
Frankly, I don't know exactly how many lawsuits are pending against Google over its AdWords service. I know of seven, including this one, but I don't a high confidence that I've seen all of them. For example, I missed this lawsuit initially because PACER misidentified the defendant as Goggle, not Google. (PACER is notorious for sloppy typos). See the Justia page.
Even if the lawsuit count is currently "only" seven, Google is seeing plenty of litigation activity. Clearly, one or more factors have changed the plaintiffs' cost-benefit calculus sufficient to open the litigation floodgates. Now, I'm wondering when all of these lawsuits will be consolidated into a multi-district litigation (MDL) proceeding...?
Substantively, this complaint isn't materially different from the others. The plaintiff owns a trademark in the term "Styrotrim" for building materials, competitors are buying the term for competitive keyword ads, and Google is suggesting the purchase through its keyword suggestion tool. As with most of the other lawsuits, the plaintiff also alleges consumer confusion about the distinction between sponsored links and organic search results. The plaintiff's press release.
The six other AdWords-related lawsuits I'm tracking. If you think I've missed any, I'd be grateful for the reference.
UPDATE: As a good example of my imprecise counting, I had forgotten Ezzo v. Google, a doomed-to-fail pro se case filed before the Rescuecom case. So my count is now 8, not 7.
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