Rosetta Stone and Google Settle, and Consumers Win

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Rosetta Stone and Google came to a settlement regarding a case of trademark infringement last week. This ended a nasty three year battle, as they two companies promised to work together to battle against the misuse of trade names.

The 2009 lawsuit stated that Rosetta Stone argued that Google was allowing rival language companies to utilize the keywords of Rosetta Stone in sponsored online advertisements that show up at the top of the search results page in Google, which recently also waded into the travel guide business.

For example, a competitor might purchase advertisements that shows its own product when someone typed the search phrase ‘learn Russian Rosetta Stone.’ Rosetta Stone stated that some of the links were also for counterfeit products that were supposedly representing its brand and were not, or were even for some websites that had nothing at all to do with language learning.

Google, which is now planning an algorithm affected by copyright infringement, argued all through the legal battle that it had tried to keep pace with trademark standards in the industry. It also questioned if it was possible to hold the firm liable for what third parties did in advertising.

The settlement terms have not been disclosed, but the two firms released a joint statement that said  both would work together to fight counterfeit ads and misuse of trademarks in the future.

As they work together and no longer quarrel in a courtroom, both companies are hoping they can improve detection methods, help law enforcement track down counterfeiting ad companies, and hopefully cut down on piracy and trademark abuse online.

This case was watched by industry closely because it focused on the role of Google in maintaining protections against infringement of copyright. This is a role that will be questioned in the future as small companies battle to be included in Google’s search results.

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