Judge Offers Decision in GEICO, Google Dispute

December 15, 2004

The use of the GEICO trademark to trigger Google paid ads that include the GEICO name reportedly violate the federal trademark laws. The judge presiding over the lawsuit filed by GEICO against
Google Inc. ruled Wednesday that evidence presented by GEICO conclusively proves that such Google ads infringe GEICO’s trademarks.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema in an oral decision, to be followed by a written opinion, however also found that GEICO has not presented sufficient evidence in this case for her to conclude that Google paid ads not containing the GEICO trademark, resulting from the use of GEICO as a search term, violate the trademark laws.

Wednesday’s decision left open the issue of whether the sale of GEICO’s trademarks by Google or any other search engine, in and of itself, violates the trademark laws or other laws.

“GEICO will continue to aggressively enforce its trademark rights against purchasers of its trademark on search engines and against search engines that continue to sell its trademarks,” said GEICO General Counsel Charles Davies.

The direct writer provides auto insurance coverage for more than 6 million policyholders and insures more than 9.5 million vehicles. GEICO also offers sales and claim services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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