The introduction of an article should provide the reader with a short explanation of the issue to be discussed, a summary of what will be discussed in the paper, and a general idea of what the author's viewpoint on the issue is, and possible solutions to resolve the issue. In January 2002, the Accor marketing department launched a survey in order to know how Accor trademarks are represented on the Internet, especially on searching engines. The survey showed that Accor sites are never represented as first searching results as other sites that the top slot. Competitors sites were especially present in "sponsored links". The managers worried by this positioning because of the lack of visibility and loss of clientele. Accor decided to explore the searching engines' sector to know how competitors can buy their sponsored links and be on the top of a search page even if the research key word is an Accor group trademark. It was discovered that Expedia had bought Accor's trademark "Suitehotel" in order to reach a top of the range clientele. Moreover, Accor found that it was Overture that sold Expedia Accor's brand as an ad-word. The Accor group now wants to take Overture into court in order to compel it to break its ad-words contract with Expedia and pay Accor damages for the loss of clientele and turn over.
[...] As we saw previously, Accor group brands are registered trademarks and are protected by the intellectual propriety laws. Accor group registered the “Suitehotel” brand in two ways: as “suitehotel” and “suite hotel”. “Suitehotel” is in fact a propriety of the Accor group. However, Expedia company bought to Overture two adwords that are the same as the Accor trademarks: “suitehotel” and “suite hotel”. That why, Expedia seems to harm the trademark laws. An court action can be possible but, as we explained previously, it will be difficult to show that the group of words “suite + hotel” is a propriety of Suitehotel Company because there are both generic terms strongly linked to the tourism and accommodation sector. [...]
[...] It is more logical to ask research engines' clients to show good faith even if it could be more risky for the juridical side. Finally, we can take the brand and trademark “Suitehotel” as an example. This name can inflict injury to the Accor group itself. As it is explained previously, it is composed of 2 terms that are strongly generic in the accommodation sector: suite and hotel. And the main problem resides in the precise spelling of the research key words in a research engine: indeed, “suite hotel” can be easily distinguished of “Suitehotel”. [...]
[...] Accor company carries on business in accommodation, well-being center and catering services under these trademarks. It uses Internet sites that are linked to these brands in order to present its activities and allow on-line booking. On the other hand, Overture Services company, created in 1997 and based on the Californian law, presents itself as the inventor of the on-line research service for performance”. This system commercialised in France by the SARL Overture firm, consists in proposing to announcers to book some key-words on the overture.com site. [...]
[...] The dispute concerns the fact that Overture sells to Accor competitors and third people the right to Accor name when an Internet user makes a research with an Accor trademark as a key word. It seems to me that Overture and the searching engines commit an infringement to the brand monopole principle. In that way, they are in support of this disloyal competition between firms acting in the same sector (accommodation, in this case). That is why Accor group can easily sue Overture. [...]
[...] sued four searching engines that acted the same way as Overture. They used to sell advertising space for some types of requests. In that case, the key word was “body solutions”. Nevertheless, some reasons can penalize Accor: - first of all, there is a problem with the territoriality of the court action: Overture is a company headquartered in California. In its contract, it is written that the applicable law in terms of disputes is the State of California law. According to Californian jurisprudence, it seems that the suit Accor brings is not so easy to win. [...]
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