Rosetta Stone, a company specializing in foreign language software, has joined a growing number of frustrated advertisers who find their business being diverted to smaller competitors who “piggyback” their trademarked words. For example, a search for a major company in an industry like Rosetta Stone could pull up sponsored links entitled “Don’t Choose Rosetta Stone” or “Don’t Buy Rosetta Software,” paid for by other brands. Rosetta Stone is now suing Rocket Languages, among others, over the practice, alleging that they are illegally using the trademarked Rosetta Stone name. The company also claims that the feedback posts Rocket Languages hosts on its website, comparing itself, Rosetta Stone, and other competitors, are paid for by Rocket Languages itself.
Google does have anti-piggyback policies, but it is unclear how carefully they are implemented. Large corporations have sued Google itself in the past, looking to keep Google from selling their trademarked titles to other advertisers.
Source: WSJ Law Blog