Credit ratings companies go to court in case which could change search marketing

google adwords logoA court battle is currently raging which could have huge ramifications on whether companies are allowed to continue to use their rival’s trademarks in their Google Adwords campaigns.

Two credit reporting companies, Veda Advantage and Malouf Group Enterprises, have been locked in a federal court battle over Malouf’s use of Veda’s trademarks in its Adwords search marketing.

While the case could take six months to be handed down, but Jane Owen of Bird & Bird, which is handing the case for Veda, said there was little doubt the implications of any decision would be far reaching.

“It depends on which way the judgement comes down,” Owen said.

“I think it will be very important. It will put some boundaries around SEO.”

She noted one of the challenges with SEO was that often the use of a rival brand in the background was invisible and the companies were often unaware rivals were surfing in on their business using their own brand names in SEO.

If Veda wins it would set a legal precedent stopping other companies from using trademarked terms of rivals in their marketing. Should it lose, things would remain the same.


In the statement of claim filed on behalf of Veda Advantage, the company said that it had developed a series of trademarks – VidaCheck, VedaAdvantage and VedaScore – which it had used to support multi media campaigns across a variety of platforms.

“The applicant has acquired a substantial and valuable goodwill in each of the signs ‘Veda’, ‘Veda Advantage’, ‘Veda Check’ and ‘Veda Score’ in connection with the Veda services,” said the statement.

It said that credit rating company Malouf Group Enterprises had engaged in trademark infringement by using Veda’s trademarks in its Google Adwords search terms to target possible customers of Veda since at least August of 2012.

Veda also claimed that by using its trademarks, or “a substantially identical or deceptively similar sign in provision of services” its rival had also engaged in “misleading or deceptive conduct.”

Malouf Group Enterprises director Jordan Malouf told Mumbrella he did not wish to comment ahead of the court’s decision.

Simon Canning


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.