Keyword infringement: Edible Arrangements files $209M trademark suit against Google

Google is being sued in federal district court in Connecticut by the company behind Edible Arrangements for trademark infringement and unfair competition. The central claim is that when users search for “Edible Arrangements” (or versions of that name), they’re seeing product ads for competitors, such as 1-800-Flowers.
The company is seeking more than $200 million in damages for lost profits and trademark infringement. The company claims that consumers are confused about which results are genuinely associated with Edible Arrangements and says it has received phone calls supporting that contention.
I have not seen the specific allegations in the complaint, and I was not able to replicate the allegedly infringing search results. It does not appear that the term “Edible Arrangements” appears in ad text for competing advertisers.
Google will review and restrict use of trademark terms in ad text where there is a dispute. However, it does not restrict use of trademarks as keywords: “We don’t investigate or restrict trademarks as

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Initial Interest Confusion rears its ugly head once more in trademark infringement case

Two years ago, Multi Time Machine brought a lawsuit against Amazon for trademark infringement, alleging that web pages on for “MTM special ops watches” keyword searches could be too confusing to consumers, since the MTM watches are not sold on the site. Now, a similar complaint was brought by Bodum versus Williams-Sonoma for French press coffeemakers. These cases illustrate significant risks for e-commerce sites.
Multi Time Machine’s complaint was based on a few different search results pages at Amazon that involved keywords associated with Multi Time Machine’s trademarks. When one searched for “mtm special ops watches” (and similar keyword searches that could be related to their marks), Amazon displayed what are essentially related search results. As mentioned before, MTM watches are not sold on Amazon — but the site associated those keyword searches with other watches that might be considered similar.

Initial Interest Confusion
Multi Time Machine claimed that this caused “Initial Interest Confusion” (IIC), which is a controversial theory of trademark law.

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