November 06, 2009
Google AdWords Litigation Keeps Rolling In--Parts Geek v. US Auto Parts
By Eric Goldman
In my world, we have an honor code among geeks--thou shalt not harm other geeks. As you can imagine, then, I was a little sad to see geek-on-geek litigation like this one, where auto parts geeks are suing computer geeks. Can't we geeks all get along?
Parts Geek is an online retailer of auto parts. US Auto Parts Network is a competitor who has bought keyword ads triggered by Parts Geek's trademarks. (However, when I searched this morning for Parts Geek, I didn't see any US Auto Parts' ads). In response, Parts Geek is suing its competitor as well as Google for the keyword advertising.
With respect to Google's involvement, the complaint doesn't break any new ground. I'm pretty sure it's largely a rip of another complaint, but I can't remember which one(s). According to my count, this lawsuit brings Google back up to 9 AdWords lawsuits.
In contrast, there are a couple of interesting facets of the claims against US Auto Parts. First, Parts Geek alleges (para. 42) that US Auto Parts set up a blog entitled "Auto Parts Geek" to divert traffic. Can you imagine a more perfect descriptive fair use situation? I think this will become my new favorite example.
The roster of pending AdWords cases:
* Ezzo v. Google
* Rescuecom v. Google
* FPX v. Google
* John Beck Amazing Profits v. Google
and the companion Google v. John Beck Amazing Profits
* Stratton Faxon v. Google (not initially a trademark case)
Soaring Helmet v. Bill Me
Ascentive v. Google
Jurin v. Google 1.0 (voluntarily dismissed), succeeded by Jurin v. Google 2.0
* Rosetta Stone v. Google
* Flowbee v. Google
* Parts Geek v. US Auto Parts
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