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Jurin v. Google Inc.

September 7, 2010

DANIEL JURIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GOOGLE INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Morrison C. England, Jr. United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Through this action Plaintiff Daniel Jurin ("Plaintiff") alleges violation of state and federal laws arising out of the use of the trademarked name "Styrotrim" as a suggested keyword in the "AdWords" program operated by Defendant Google, Inc. ("Defendant"). Presently before the Court is a Motion by Defendant to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second and Sixth Claims for Relief for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).

For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's Motion is granted.*fn1

BACKGROUND*fn2

Defendant is an internet search engine provider. This dispute is based on Plaintiff challenging the lawfulness of Defendant's Keyword Suggestion tool in its for-profit "Google AdWords" program.

A. Background on Search Engines

In operating its search engine, Defendant "indexes" websites, collecting information on their contents for use in formulas which respond to search queries. Generally, when a user enters a query into Defendant's website, the search engine will process relevant sites and then return results to the user.

Businesses routinely use this process to influence their website's ranking on a results page. Prior to building a website, businesses will often utilize various available keyword tools to determine what keywords internet users are most commonly searching for. A business will then build its site around more popular search terms in order to ensure a higher rank on a search engine results page.

Alternatively, a business may "bid" on keywords. "Bidding" allows businesses to pay search engines a fee as a bid on selected keywords in an effort to appear on a results page as a "Sponsored Link".

The higher the bid, the higher the "Sponsored Link" placement when bid-upon keywords are searched for. "Sponsored links" appear either at the top or along the side of a search engine results page.

Defendant allows advertisers to bid on keywords in a program called "Google AdWords". In addition to allowing advertisers select their own keywords, the program offers a "Keyword Suggestion Tool" which suggests popular search terms to advertisers for bidding.

B. Plaintiff's Suit

Plaintiff holds the trademark for a building material known as "Styrotrim." He markets and sells his product to homeowners, contractors, and those in the construction and remodeling industries.

Defendant's AdWords program picked up the trademark name "Styrotrim" as a commonly searched term. It thereafter suggested it to bidders in its "Keyword Suggestion Tool" in the AdWords program. Defendant thus enabled Plaintiff's competitors to bid on the keyword "Styrotrim" and subsequently appear as a ...


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