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Monday, August 20, 2007

Google Sued by American Airlines for Trademark Infringement

Posted by @ 7:54 pm

Google is being sued by airline giant American Airlines, for trademark infringement. American Airlines are not happy that Google allows AdWords advertisers to bid on the company’s trademarked names.

In a complaint filed by the company, American Airlines allege that Google is violating their trademark(s) by allowing competitors to bid on their company names in Google Adwords. Reading through the document, here are some of the keywords in question:

  • American Airlines
  • American Airlines Deal
  • Free AA Travel Offers
  • AmericanAirlines
  • American Airline
  • AmericanAirlines Com
  • American Air Lines

The document also outlines how the AdWords keyword suggestion tool brings up suggestions for other trademarked keywords. It’s interesting to note that Google do not allow any advertisers to bid on the “Google” trademark.

While this type of lawsuit is nothing new to Google, it’s the first time a company as large as American Airlines has challenged the search giant. Eric Goldman, a university law professor, suggests that this lawsuit could end up costing American Airlines more than they think:

“my working theory is that this was not a good lawsuit for American Airlines to bring. I’ve noted many times before that lawsuits over consumer “diversion” often cost more than the lost profits from the allegedly diverted consumers.”

American Airlines have issued a press release regarding the incident, claiming that while they want the trademark issue sorted, they are keen to maintain a positive relationship with Google.


Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

View Matthew Elshaw's profile

Discussion (2 - comments)

I suggest we give a prize to AA for introducing into the English language the words “American” and “Airline” plus their variations. :D

By Mihaela Lica - August 21, 2007

Mmmmm! This is interesting. Keep us posted on the outcome of this law suit.

By Clement Nthambazale Nyirenda. - August 21, 2007

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