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U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Reopens Rosetta Stone’s Trademark Lawsuit Against Google

Back in 2009, Rosetta Stone filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Google, which was dismissed by a Virginia court in August 2010, has now been revived by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia today, meaning the search giant’s permitting the use of trademarked terms in AdWords is still legally questionable in the United States.

At issue: whether the sale of trademarked search keywords to the company’s competitors for sponsored links makes Google liable for trademark infringement.

The judge William Traxler said the following in the court’s 47-page ruling:

“A reasonable trier of fact could find that Google intended to cause confusion in that it acted with the knowledge that confusion was very likely to result from its use of the marks. The evidence recited by the district court is sufficient to establish a question of fact as to whether Google continued to supply its services to known infringers.”

Google downplaying the decision stated:

“We think that the legitimate use of trademarks as keyword triggers helps consumers to make more informed choices. For what remains of the case, we’re confident we will prevail on both the merits and the law.”

Similarly, the Rosetta Stone President and CEO Stephen Swad indicated that he believed his company would eventually win the courtroom battle:

“We are pleased with the U.S. Court of Appeals’ opinion. We believe that the unauthorized sale of our trademarks to third parties, including counterfeiters, is wrong as it harms and confuses American consumers and infringes upon and dilutes Rosetta Stone’s trademarks. We are confident that we will ultimately prevail in this case.”

Whatever, will be the finaly judgement, the court’s decision to request that the lower court reconsider its findings is a sure a major setback for Google.

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