Google faces another trademark suit in Germany

A German court is set to hear oral arguments in a trademark suit against Google next week as the search giant faces yet another...

A German court is set to hear oral arguments in a trademark suit against Google next week as the search giant faces yet another legal challenge to its AdWords keyword advertising program.

Google has already been sued in France and the US by parties claiming that AdWords, which lets advertisers bid on keywords to place ads, allows others to profit from their trademarks.

Metaspinner Media, which runs a comparison shopping site, is suing Google for infringing on its "Preispiraten" trademark, which means roughly "price pirates." Metaspinner has already won a preliminary injunction against Google last November and is seeking a permanent injunction and damages, said Petra Bosbach, a lawyer for Metaspinner.

The oral hearing is due to take place in the Hamburg district court on Tuesday. If an agreement is not reached, the proceedings will move to the next stage and the court will decide whether to order the permanent injunction, she said.

Metaspinner has submitted information about similar cases filed against Google, but it is not clear whether the German court will take them into consideration, Bosbach said. 

For example, the American Blind & Wallpaper Factory has sued Google, arguing that it infringed upon its trademark by allowing competing retailers to bid on similar words such as "American blind" or "American blinds." Google has also been sued in France by Louis Vuitton Malletier and insurance group AXA Advisers, among others.

Metaspinner is arguing that third parties, and Google in particular, benefit from the money it has spent to build up the Preispiraten brand. Third parties pay to use the name as a keyword to get a high ranking and Google is reimbursed for the advertising.

"Preispiraten means getting goods at a really good price, perhaps the best price, and it is a strong brand," Bosbach said.

Google has not commented on the pending litigation.

Scarlet Pruitt writes for the IDG News Service


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