In 2002, Sport Court sued Rhino for trademark infringement, and a year
later, Rhino agreed to an injunction restricting it from using the "Sport Court"
trademark "on or in connection with the Internet. Then, in early May 2007, Sport
Court accused Rhino of violating the injunction, claiming that the company had
purchased the "sport court" keyword phrase on Google AdWords.
But Rhino had merely purchased the "broad match" terms "court" and "basketball
court," not the specific term "sport court." So the court rejected plaintiff's
claim, but he has now issued a subpoena to Google, requesting information on
"all purchases of 'sport court' as a keyword," "associated cost per click
calculations," "estimated ad positions for the keyword," and "search volume
trends for the keyword." That includes information about Sport Court's AdWords
account as well as the accounts of other businesses.
Google has sent out a warning letter to an undisclosed number of its
advertisers to inform them of the civil subpoena it received, and given them
until July 19th to respond. If those advertisers do not formally object, Google
may give over their ad data to legal authorities. The letter was
posted on the Technology and Marketing Law Blog.