John Batelle’s Search Blog is reporting that Google’s Motion to Dismiss certain claims by American Blind in its litigation regarding Google’s sale of keywords has been denied.
Put in perspective, part of the significance of the American Blind case is that the mark AMERICAN BLIND (and some of the other American Blind trademarks owned by plaintiff) is not as distinctive or unique as for example, the mark GEICO. If Google has liability for this sort of keyword, then its policing costs will be increased and its potnetial inventory of salable keywords will go down.
Having said that, bear in mind that this was a motion to dismiss. The court is only allowing the plaintiff the opportunity to prove its case.
Deeper background: NY Times article noting that Google’s lawsuits are beginning to ad up. Well, what is the exposure? We’re not aware of private settlements of course but the pending cases are American Blind, Geico, LVMH, Viaticum, AFP, Preispiraten – am I leaving any out? Ok, legal fees, use $300k per, so we’re not over $2 million yet. There’s reportedly another 15 cases being brought in France. Damages? No final judgments yet. I think Viaticum has been awarded about $100k but that will probably be appealed. I assume that AFP is asking for the highest amount at $17 million.
Google has $3 billion in annual sales, so it will be likely to foot the bill for now.