American Airlines is suing Google, claiming trademark infringement because competitors are purchasing AA’s trademarks as keywords to drive traffic to their sites. These type of suits are common, a cost of doing business for Google. But the issue will remain unresolved as long as the courts are split as to whether the practice of using trademarks as keywords constitutes infringement.
What does this mean for you? Unless you’ve got the deep pockets to fight in court with the trademark owner, you may want to make the decision to avoid using the marks in your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns. Even if you’re legally right (and that’s not a sure bet), you can still be ruined in a lawsuit that eats up your time and money.
Then again, you could be one of the lucky ones who uses the keywords and doesn’t hear a peep from the trademark owners. Kind of like playing Russian Roulette. Do you feel lucky?