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Jurin v Google False Designation of Origin

Jurin v Google False Designation of Origin

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Published by Eric Goldman

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Published by: Eric Goldman on Feb 17, 2011
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12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTEASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIADANIEL JURIN,No. 2:09-cv-03065-MCE-KJMPlaintiff,v.
 MEMORANDUM AND ORDER 
GOOGLE INC.,Defendants.----oo0oo----Through this action, Plaintiff Daniel Jurin (“Plaintiff”)alleges several violations of state and federal law arising outof the use of its trademarked name “Styrotrim” by DefendantGoogle, Inc. (“Defendant”). Presently before the Court isDefendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Second and Sixth Causesof Action for failure to state a claim upon which relief may begranted pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).
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As set forth below, Defendant’s Motion will be granted in partand denied in part.All further references to “Rule” or “Rules” are to the
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Federal Rules of Civil Procedure unless otherwise noted.1
Case 2:09-cv-03065-MCE -KJN Document 50 Filed 02/15/11 Page 1 of 17
 
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BACKGROUND
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Plaintiff challenges the lawfulness of Defendant’s keywordsuggestion tool in its for-profit “Google AdWords” program. 
 A. Background On Search Engines
Defendant is a highly recognized corporation most known forits widely used search engine website. As part of operating itssearch engine, Defendant “indexes” websites, and collectsinformation regarding their contents so that it, in turn, canstore the information for use in formulas which respond to searchqueries. Generally, when a user enters a query into Defendant’swebsite, the search engine will process relevant websites basedon several information factors and then return results to theuser.Web designers routinely use this process to influence theirranking on Defendant’s results page. Prior to building a site,web designers will often conduct a keyword search using variousavailable keyword tools in order to determine what terms orphrases internet users are most commonly searching for. A webdesigner will then build its site around more popular searchterms in order to ensure a higher rank on a search engine resultspage.//////The factual assertions in this section are based on the
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allegations in Plaintiff’s Complaint unless otherwise specified.2
Case 2:09-cv-03065-MCE -KJN Document 50 Filed 02/15/11 Page 2 of 17
 
12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728Additionally, those with more capital may advertise theirwebsites by “bidding” on keywords. A web designer can constructan ad using popular keywords, and then pay a search engineprovider a fee to bid on those keywords in an effort to appear ona search engine results page as a “Sponsored Link” whenever usersenter those keywords in their search queries. The higher a webdesigner bids, the higher the “Sponsored Link” placement whenthose bid-upon keywords are searched for. “Sponsored Links”appear either at the top or along the side of a search engineresults page. As part of its business, Defendant allowsadvertisers to bid on keywords in a program called “GoogleAdWords” (“AdWords”) and through this program, encouragesadvertisers to bid on additional relevant keywords using a“keyword suggestion tool.”
B. Plaintiff’s Suit
Plaintiff owns a company which markets and sells itstrademarked “Styrotrim” building material to homeowners,contractors, and those in the construction and remodelingindustries. Plaintiff filed suit in this case based onPlaintiff’s competitors’ alleged unauthorized use of itstrademarked name as a generic keyword, with the allegedencouragement of Defendant’s keyword suggestion tool in itsAdWords program.Defendant’s keyword suggestion tool picked up thetrademarked name “Styrotrim” as a commonly searched term andthereafter suggested it as a keyword to bidders in AdWords.3
Case 2:09-cv-03065-MCE -KJN Document 50 Filed 02/15/11 Page 3 of 17

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