The Washington Post reported on November 1, 2012, that language learning software developer Rosetta Stone Inc. agreed to drop the trademark infringementlawsuit it filed against Google three years ago after the two companies reached a settlement.
Rosetta Stone sued the search site in 2009, accusing it of selling trademarked phrases like “Rosetta Stone” and “language library” to third-party companies that make imitation software. As the Post noted, the Google advertising program, AdWords, allows third parties to buy keywords that generate sponsored links when someone types the phrases in an online search. Rosetta Stone’s lawsuit alleged that those links occasionally took consumers to websites selling copycat software and they were misled into thinking those products were actual Rosetta Stone software.
While the lawsuit was dismissed in 2010, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the case this past April. The Post reported that this opened the door for other companies to sue Google over similar claims, “with 33 major corporations, trade associations and professional sports leagues lining up on Rosetta Stone’s side.” According to the Post, Tiffany & Co., Ford Motor Co., Geico and the National Football League were some of the groups that filed briefs with the court in support of Rosetta Stone.
The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but the Post noted, “The resolution of Rosetta Stone’s lawsuit does not preclude other companies from bringing similar claims against Google.” We will further discuss the trademark lawsuits that Google has been facing over its keyword advertising in our next blog post, and you can find additional information about unfair competition on our website.
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