U.S. patent application number 20110072518 is titled AUTOMATED SCREENING OF CONTENT BASED ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS. Filed in December 2010, it is a system that does the following:
- receive content from a third party;
- scan the content for trademarked terms;
- and determine whether to display the content.
Clearly, someone at Google has been fielding a lot of calls from cranky trademark owners. Although the system is focused on ads, it wouldn't seem to difficult to adapt it to keyword bids, should a region like Europe decide that such activity wasn't legal. Presumably, Google could take lists of trademarks from owners, scan keyword bids for them, and then send the bidding activity back to the owner to see if they are, indeed, legitimate.
- Google Patent Shows Its Mobile-Payment Ambitions, but Raises Privacy Flags
- Google Android: the IP Litigator's Full Employment Act
- Motorola Xoom Hit by Trademark Lawsuit. Apple Couldn't Be Involved, Could It?