Matt Naegar, one of our legal panelists at SES Chicago and general counsel for search marketing firm IMPAQT, looks at the Google-Geico ruling in Google Versus Geico: What Does It Mean for Search Engine Marketers? from MediaPost.
He warns that it's not anything goes, from a marketer's perspective. In particular, the ruling in one US district might not be followed by judges hearing a case in another district. He also offers some advice on trying to stay out of trouble, until we get clearer rulings.
The Geico case didn't involve marketers, of course -- it was targeted at the search engines as bigger targets (and deeper pockets). No doubt, we'll start to hear of marketers themselves being involved in high-profile cases in the future.
There's also no doubt that the Geico ruling won't be the end of this. Until we get appeals and a number of other cases testing different aspects of trademark law, as they apply to search marketing, the legalities will remain a matter of debate.
Optimising Digital Marketing Campaigns with Search, Social and Analytics
At SES London (9-11 Feb) you'll get an overview of the latest tools, tips, and tactics in Paid, Owned, Earned, Integrated Media and Business Intelligence to streamline your marketing campaigns in 2015. Register by 31 October to take advantage of Early Bird Rates.