In early July, the Rosetta Stone launched a lawsuit against Google for trademark infringement through its AdWords program.
Late Thursday, Google announced the largest changes to their US AdWords policy in some time. Previously, trademark owners could prevent anyone from using their trademarks in their ad copy. Now, resellers and information sites may utilize the trademarked terms in their ad copy.
Those that have been following the various legal wranglings over search ads and trademarks recognize that a key issue is whether search ads classify as a 'use in commerce'. This distinction is important for trademark holders - very few trademark protections apply unless the trademark is 'used in commerce'. I'm surprised that there has ever been any doubt about this issue, but it hasn't necessarily been clear in the past.
SearchEngineLand wrote on a recent ruling by a French court that fined Google 350,000 Euros for allowing companies to bid on the trademarks of two companies.
PPCHero has a great post that discusses why trademarked terms are allowed in display URLs:
Verizon issued a press release today that announced a record $33.5M cybersquatting judgment against OnlineNIC. There were 663 domains in question and the judge chose to award $50K per domain, presumably under the guidelines of the Anti-Cybersquatting Protection Act (ACPA), which allow a penalty of between $1K and $100K per domain. Very little is known about the actual case, and nearly all of the blog posts and press coverage simply restate the press release.
ICANN had been planning on a radical transformation of the gTLD system in May 2009 that would result in a tremendous expansion of available gTLDs (current examples of gTLDs include .biz, .mobi, .com, .org). The proposal would basically allow anyone with $185K to buy a new gTLD (although technically those are application fees).
In the Vulcan Golf vs. Google case, the judge recently denied a motion by the plaintiffs to turn the lawsuit into a class action. We've mentioned the lawsuit before, but the general gist is that the plaintiffs are alleging that Google and several other parties participate in trademark infringement by selling ads on infringing domain names.