The world's largest airline, American Airlines, has sued internet search engine leader Google Inc for selling search words involving its name is used unfairly by the airline's rivals to grab business.
The airlines, a unit of AMR Corp, said it does not want to prevent the display of search terms, but wants Google to stop selling its trademarks and related terms.
The airline accuses Google of selling the right to use American Airlines' trademarks and service marks or "words, phrases, or terms confusingly similar to those marks" to competitors who then direct searchers to their own web pages. It has objected to the usage of search terms such as "American Airlines" or "AA.com" to other companies for advertising.
"This lawsuit involves...efforts by certain companies to free ride on American Airlines' brands through use of Google's technology," says the lawsuit filing.
Google has denied any wrongdoing and said in a statement, "We are confident that our trademark policy strikes a proper balance between trademark owners' interests and consumer choice, and that our position has been validated by decisions in previous trademark cases."
Google has prevailed in at least two similar cases, including a lawsuit brought by auto insurer GEICO, but lost in a French court last year against luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton SA.