Law Firm Drops Lawsuit Against Google Over AdWords

A New York law firm that sued Google over alleged trademark infringement in search ads has withdrawn the complaint, according to court records.

Gorayeb & Associates' move came before Google responded to the lawsuit. The law firm, which officially withdrew the case on Tuesday, didn't give a reason for its move.

In the original suit, Gorayeb alleged that its name was used by a legal referral service to trigger click-to-call ads in Google's search results. Those ads allegedly direct visitors to Accident Injury Law Center, a legal referral service based in Oklahoma.

The law firm originally alleged that its trademark was infringed by Google, which allegedly allowed the referral service "to mislead potential clients" and to "free ride on the good will and professional reputation of Gorayeb."

Gorayeb also sued the legal marketing agency Quintessa Marketing and the legal referral service -- both of which allegedly are owned by the same person. That matter remains pending in front of U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams in New York.

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Google allows trademarks to trigger AdWords ads, and sometimes allows trademarked terms to appear in the ad copy itself. The company's policies have resulted in other litigation in the past, but Google either prevailed in all of the prior cases or settled them, according to Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman, who has closely followed the lawsuits.

Google's biggest courtroom defeat in the area occurred in 2012, when a federal appellate court ruled that Rosetta Stone could proceed with a lawsuit over the use of its trademark in search advertising.

The companies ultimately resolved that case on confidential terms.

Google is still facing at least one other lawsuit related to its Adwords policies. In that case, fashion retailer Teri Jon Sports alleges that Google enables a counterfeiter to sell knock-offs.

Teri Jon's complaint, brought in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges that Google enables the Hong Kong company Readmob -- which allegedly sells counterfeits -- to use the term "Teri Jon" to trigger ads on Google's search results pages. The retailer's lawsuit also includes claims against Readmob and against payment companies PayPal, American Express, Visa and Mastercard.

Google is expected to answer that complaint by August 15.

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