Brands team up to fight Google keywords policy

GoogleA heavyweight consortium of brands and organisations believed to include Saga and Lastminute.com has met to challenge Google’s new keywords policy, which allows companies to bid on rivals trademarks and brand names. The Association of British Travel Agents has confirmed it took part in the meeting.

It is understood that legal representatives from the undisclosed brands met last week to discuss what action they can take against the internet search giant. It is understood that the alliance includes several travel companies, a major financial services organisation, High Street retailers and a media provider.

ABTA confirmed that its legal head, Simon Bunce, attended the meeting. Saga and Lastminute.com have stated that they are considering their legal position, along with Tesco and Arcadia, owner of TopShop.

A Saga spokesman would not confirm the company’s participation, but he adds: “We are actively considering our position with a view to what action we can take, either by ourselves or in conjunction with others.”

A Google spokesman says that he is “not aware of any such legal action”.

Last week, Teletext Holidays began legal proceedings against Directline Holidays for an alleged “trademark infringement” after claims it bid Teletext as a search term on Google’s paid-for listings.

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