Rosetta Stone vs. Google and Trademarked AdWords

On November 1st, after three years of litigation, Google and Rosetta Stone settled over allegations of trademark violation after Rosetta Stone agreed to dismiss the lawsuit.

The lawsuit brought up myriad questions on the legality of bidding on trademarked terms, using trademarked terms in ad text, and whether or not Google should be held responsible for products that appear when trademarks are used as search terms.

While the terms of the settlement were not made public, the two companies agreed to “work together with law enforcement to combat online ads for counterfeit goods and prevent the abuse of trademarks on the Internet.” (Read more about the case here.)

Google’s policy regarding the use of trademarked terms is clear. While Google does not investigate use of trademarks as search terms, it will investigate trademarks as ad content, if the organization using the trademarked term is not authorized by the trademark holder to do so.

Google explicitly states that it “will not investigate or restrict the use of trademark terms in keywords, even if a trademark complaint is received.” (Read Google’s AdWords trademark policy here.)

If you have questions about your use of trademarks in your ad content or AdWords keyword bidding, contact us today and we’ll help clarify Google’s terms as best we can.