Indiana finally has its own keyword advertising case!
Local internet powerhouse Angie’s List accuses ServiceMagic of using the “Angie’s List” trademark as a keyword in some of its Google AdWords sponsored link advertisements. While several courts around the country have ruled on this issue, in Indiana it is still undetermined whether the purchase and use of a competitor’s trademark in keyword advertising is trademark infringement.
For those unfamiliar with keyword advertising, see the image below. ServiceMagic pays Google to appear in the “Ads related to” box at the top of the search results for the term “Angie’s List,” directly below Angie’s List’s official site. Big companies hate this practice and small competitors love it. Google really loves it, because advertising is where Google gets a big chunk of their revenue. We’ll soon find out what the Southern District of Indiana, via Judge Sarah Evans Barker, thinks about it.
This is no David and Goliath story either. ServiceMagic’s parent company IAC owns many major web products, including Ask.com, Match.com and Vimeo.
Stay tuned for updates as the case proceeds.
Angie’s List Inc. v. Servicemagic Inc.
Court Case Number: 1:12-cv-00755-SEB-TAB
File Date: Friday, June 01, 2012
Plaintiff: Angie’s List Inc.
Plaintiff Counsel: George A. Gasper, Michael A. Wukmer, Bradley M. Stohry of Ice Miller LLP
Defendant: ServiceMagic Inc.
Cause: Trademark Infringement, Unfair Competition, Trade Disparagement, Trademark Dilution, Common Law Unfair Competition, Unjust Enrichment, Request for Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief
Court: Southern District of Indiana
Judge: Judge Sarah Evans Barker
Referred To: Magistrate Judge Tim A. Baker