Rosetta Stone sues Google for trademark infringement over policy change

Rosetta Stone sues Google over policy change

ARLINGTON, Virginia — Rosetta Stone Inc. on Friday sued Google Inc. for trademark infringement, alleging that a change in the search giant’s policy facilitates the unauthorized use of its brand by competitors and software pirates.

Rosetta Stone, whose products teach customers to speak foreign languages, said Google’s AdWords advertising policy was changed last month to let advertisers use its trademark or similar terms in the ad text even if they don’t own the trademark or have approval to use it.

Advertisers whose ads appear on Google search can choose key words that trigger the appearance of those ads. When consumers type in those key words, the sponsored links by these advertisers come up along with organic search results. Google gets paid by the advertiser if people click on those links, as well as other means.

Rosetta Stone contends that rivals and other companies can use its brand name as key words and include them in the ad’s text or title to route folks to their Web sites or mislead people in other ways, with Google benefiting financially from the transactions.

A Google spokesman said the company hasn’t seen the lawsuit and cannot comment.

Arlington, Virginia-based Rosetta Stone sued Google in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.

The stock rose 13 cents to $26.23 in trading Friday. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google was up $4.01 to $414.40.

(This version CORRECTS SUBS 3rd graf to correct to ‘key words trigger sponsored ads’ and Google gets paid by the click ‘as well as by other means.’ UPDATES with Google response and stock price. MINOR edit in 2nd and 4th grafs. For global distribution.)

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