Is Google’s adwords really destroying trademarks?
Bleeding google by ZEV
As the battle with Louis Vuitton and Google’s adwords ends. The outcome not only cleared Google of any liability, but also magnifies the argument of trademark bidding and digital representation. In this case,
Google’s senior litigation counsel Dr Harjinder S. Obhi said the fact the ECJ ruled that the European law which protects internet-hosting services also applies to Google’s AdWords advertising system “is important because it is a fundamental principle behind the free flow of information over the internet“.
I find this argument interesting because the fee flow of information isn’t entirely free. It’s still being regulated by the brain-trust at Google. But, I also find—in this example—that Louis Vuitton isn’t actually being harmed in the production of the adwords by competitors. Fist off, the Louis Vuitton name already has such a strong band, these ads are only going to aid in it’s exclusivity—and desirability. Which, makes it a bad example for the case of adword bidding.
Bleeding Louis Vuittonby ZEV
Second, high fashion brand names like this usually can survive in somewhat of a bubble, it sometimes flourishes from embattled publicity. Which brings to questions Louis Vuitton’s motives behind chasing Google in the first place. Sure, they may think about reaching a settlement or changing some guidelines in the law, but I think the move came as it’s own way of advertising. It makes me wonder—is Google adwords actually harming any of these companies or helping them?
I think the more interesting argument in this case is the incredible power of Googles decisions. They become the ruling arbiter in searching media, which clouds the idea of free flowing information. I could see this as having some positive effects along with the negative. It’s positive in the respects of regulation, they are a business—for profit—therefore creating efficient solutions to satisfy consumers, which means finding new ways to search the internet. Innovation has always been a strong suit (or buying out innovation, but I’m not going to get into that) for Google, which has had profound effects on how most people use the internet. A negative instance, I think, is the effect on the representation of trademarks in the digital world. A vast majority of the digital world is funneled through them, which may or may not align to how one’s trademark would like to be presented to the public. In a way Google is stripping away the single trademark and allowing “free flow” of brand assimilation.
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