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Rescuecom Corp. v. Google, Inc.
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
562 F.3d 123 (2d Cir. 2009)
Rescuecom Corp. (Rescuecom) (plaintiff) was a computer service company. Rescuecom had a federal trademark for “Rescuecom.” Google, Inc. (Google) (defendant) operated an internet search engine and obtained revenue through advertising. Google sold advertising by allowing companies to ‘purchase’ certain search terms. If a user searched for one of those terms, Google placed a link to the company’s website above the search results. Google also had an advertising program called the Keyword Suggestion Tool (Tool). If a company purchased a search term, Google’s Tool suggested to the company that it also purchase a competitor’s brand name. Doing so would place the link to the company’s website above the search results for its competitor. Google, using its Tool, suggested Rescuecom’s “Rescuecom” trademark as a search term for Rescuecom’s competitors to buy. Rescuecom brought a trademark infringement suit against Google, alleging that the Tool’s suggestion of Rescuecom’s trademark constituted infringement. Specifically, Rescuecom alleged that a Google user would be confused after searching for “Rescuecom” and then seeing a link to a Rescuecom competitor come up as one of the “results.” Google filed a motion to dismiss the suit, alleging that its use of the trademark did not constitute “use in commerce” as is required by the Lanham Act for an infringement claim. The district court granted Google’s motion and dismissed the case. Rescuecom appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Leval, J.)
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