WALLINGFORD: Edible Arrangements is hoping to deliver a bitter taste to Google as it files a federal lawsuit against the company in Connecticut, objecting to Google using its Edible Arrangements trademark to aid competitors in search results.
The company is suing the search giant for $209 million in damages, asking $200 for trademark infringement and $9 million for its estimate of sales made by Google to the competitors.
A search for Edible Arrangements returned results for 1-800-flowers, berries.com, fruit bouquets.com advertising, all selling fruit basket deliveries similar to Edible Arrangements products.
The EA complaint claims,"the net result of this display is that consumers are deceived into thinking competitive products come from or are associated with Edible Arrangements, Edible Arrangements' valuable trademark is placed in jeopardy, and Google profits handsomely."
Google policy will sometimes restrict the use of trademarks when the parties are in a legal dispute over the trademark, but it does not restrict trademarks used as keywords to aid an advertiser in obtaining a search related to a user that is specifically looking for a particular business.
Simply put by EA – Searching Fruit Baskets for Delivery, okay for wide open advertising results, search Edible Arrangements not okay to show competitor.
“We don’t investigate or restrict trademarks as keywords,” says Google’s ad policy.
The issue of trademark infringement by Google in its advertising has not been completely settled in court. The sales of a single keyword search being worth potentially $9 million, demonstrates a loss by Google could have a fundamental effect on its sales.
A 2012 Federal case Rosetta Stone Ltd. v. Google, Inc. in the Fourth District Appellate Court sided against a decision by a lower court issuing a summery judgment supporting Google’s use. The Appellate court overturned the lower court sending it back for trial, but the case was settled between the parties before a final ruling. The lower court was instructed to look for confusion by consumers and Google’s intent to use the keywords in a deception, among other issues.
The settlement left many to believe that Google would be the eventual winner.
EA has not commented outside of its claim but presumably the company was aware of the full nature of the existing rulings and what to expect in court.
If the court however follows the same procedure it could lead to a flood of lawsuits against Google by companies seeking a trial for trademark infringement and damages. A settlement with Edible Arrangements could itself lead to new suits against Google.
EAST HARTFORD: The Connecticut Small Business Development Center [CTSBDC] has launched its revamped website, it what is says is “a fresh, uncluttered design with enhanced content focused on demonstrating CTSBDC’s mission to help Connecticut’s small business owners and entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses.”
Website visitors now have 3 options to sign up for business advising based on their business needs: (1) new to business, (2) existing businesses, or (3) individuals who just need help registering their business with the State of Connecticut.
The site also includes 20 free, online courses in the topics in accounting/finance, HR, legal, management, marketing, and start-up. Two of the courses are available in Spanish.
HARTFORD: Responders to CBIA’s Fourth Quarter Economic and Credit Availability Survey demonstrate a stable but relatively slow growing environment.
Fewer than a third of companies 28% of companies expect to add employees, up from 21% in the previous quarter. More than half (54%) of surveyed companies say their workforce will remain stable—compared with 63% in the third quarter—while 17% expect to downsize, unchanged from the last quarter.
While Thirty-eight percent of businesses have an improved outlook for their firms, most Connecticut businesses are not participating in the ever increasing global marketplace, with 77% reporting they have no or a minimal amount of international business. 46% of the survey responders were manufacturers, 85% of responders had fewer than 100 employees.