Overture Services has apparently settled a trademark infringement suit lawsuit by Geico that claimed the search company allowed competitors to buy ads that were linked to its name. The settlement could have major implications for Google, which was also sued by Geico on the same grounds.

MediaDailyNews reported this morning that Overture settled the case Friday. There were no details of the terms of the settlement. Overture is a subsidiary of Yahoo and provides the text-based ads that appear next to its search results.

Geico claimed that Overture and Google violated trademark infringement laws by allowing other insurance companies to use its trademarks when setting up ad campaigns at the search engines. That allowed ads for Geico competitors to appear next to search results for ”Geico.”

As an example, 21st Century Insurance might buy the keyword “Geico” when setting up its ad campaign. When search engine users searched for “Geico insurance,” they would see an ad for 21st Century.

Geico said the practice is confusing to consumers — the linchpin of successful trademark-infringement cases.

Google had earlier to sought to have the case dismissed. But Judge Leonie Brinkema of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the case is being heard, denied that request this month.

UPDATE: An Overture spokeswoman confirmed to us that the case has been settled, but declined to discuss details.


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