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Google Fights to Keep Documents Secret in Trademark Appeal

Posted Feb 23, 2011 6:29 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Google is famous for bringing information to the Internet, but it’s fighting to keep several documents secret in a pending appeal.

Language software maker Rosetta Stone appealed to the Richmond, Va.-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge ruled for Google in a trademark dispute, Bloomberg reported last year. Rosetta had challenged Google’s sale of trademarked words to Rosetta’s competitors, whose results appeared when Internet users searched for Rosetta.

Now Google is fighting a bid by Public Citizen and two trademark law bloggers to unseal “heaps of documents” in the case, according to PaidContent.org. The bloggers are Eric Goldman and Marty Schwimmer, according to Public Citizen’s Paul Alan Levy, who wrote about the issue in December.

Parts of the legal briefs had been redacted until Levy and the bloggers intervened, PaidContent.org reports. But Levy argues another 6,000 pages of evidentiary documents in the joint appendix should also be unsealed because Google hasn't claimed they are confidential.

“What could the documents in the case reveal?” asks Paid.Content.org. “The most potentially damaging information that could come out would be data about how frequently consumers are confused by trademarked searches. That’s because the standard for winning trademark lawsuits is typically being able to show that there is a likelihood that consumers will be confused by a trademark-infringing practice.”

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