Last month we reported on an interesting trademark case between online marketing guru Jeremy ‘ShoeMoney‘ Schoemaker and a Google employee named Keyen Farrell, who works as an AdWords Account Strategist. Schoemaker is accusing Farrell of violating his trademark by using the word ‘shoemoney’ in the ad copy for Farrell’s own site – something that Google prohibits.
AdWords disputes aren’t anything new, but the case is interesting because it involves a Google AdWords employee, who obviously should have been aware of the program’s Terms of Service. And there’s also the possibility that Farrell could have used his administrative access to bypass Google’s filters (which should have caught the trademark).
In the latest developments, Farrell has filed an affadavit stating that he did not know that the word ‘shoemoney’ was trademarked, and that he was working through Google’s standard system when he placed his ads, which failed to prevent him from registering the word. In effect, he’s saying that the blame lies with Google, which should have prevented this from happening in the first place. It’s worth noting that when Danny Sullivan attempted to use the word ‘shoemoney’ in an ad last month the system rejected it, though it is possible that it was added to the filter database in the time since Farrell began using it.
Farrell’s affadavit also denies any sinister action on his part through administrative access, stating that he never accessed the Google account for Jeremy Schoemaker and/or Shoemoney Media Group, Inc. Farrell and his father, who is also named in the case, are seeking the case’s dismissal for lack of personal jurisdiction (the suit was filed in Nebraska, where neither of them live). The full documents are embedded below.
We’ll be keeping an eye on this one. If Google does admit fault, Schoemaker could potentially name them in the suit, and the discovery process in this case could turn up some interesting details on the way the AdWords program is run, and how much data employees have access to.