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.