American Airlines’ Settles with Google on Copyright Infringement

By Matt Van Hoven 

The Associated Press reports that American Airlines has settled its suit with Google. The lawsuit was initially filed amid accusations that Google’s practice of directing traffic to the airline’s competition was illegal.

Apparently, other companies not affiliated with the airline have paid to have the word AAdvantage, a copyrighted term relating to American’s frequent Flier program, bring up results for their pages. American Airlines wasn’t happy about this.

A Fort Worth, Texas court sided with deep-pocketed Google, though, striking down American’s attempt to grab at “unspecified damages for trademark infringement.”

From the story:

Google compared its policy to grocery stores that give shoppers a coupon for Minute Maid orange juice if they buy Tropicana, or magazines that publish a Ford ad on the page opposite from a story about Chevrolets.

“Of course they are seeking to ‘hijack’ or ‘divert’ consumers who have indicated an interest in their competitors’ products,” Google lawyers wrote in a motion seeking to dismiss the lawsuit. As long as the companies don’t falsely identify a product or service, it’s legal, they said.”

Both parties agreed to pay their own legal fees and play nice on the playground from now on. Although I suspect Google will be on top of the slide sticking its tongue out for the next few weeks, while American, Geico and retailer American Blind & Wallpaper Factory Inc. (who lost similar suits with the internet giant) wallow in self pity.

Full story.