Ga. Firm Sues Google Over AdSense Technology

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By: Ann M. Mack

(Adweek IQ) Digital Envoy filed a civil action suit accusing Google of improperly using its technology that enables geographically targeted online advertising.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta, claims that the search behemoth violated the terms of its November 2000 agreement with Digital Envoy when it started to supply advertisements to third-party Web sites last year. Under its contract with Digital Envoy, Google is allowed to use the Norcross, Ga., company’s technology and database on its own property, but not others, the plaintiff stated in the filing.

The complaint alleges that Google infringed on those terms when it began to syndicate sponsored-search and contextual ads to Web publishers as a part of its year-old AdSense program, claiming that the Mountain View, Calif.-based company makes use of its technology and database on those sites.

Google declined comment on the suit, which accuses the company of misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition and unjust enrichment.

Currently, Google pays Digital Envoy $8,000 a month, up from the original $3,000, to use its database and technology, which ties an IP address to a geographic location. According to the lawsuit, Google offered to increase its payment to $12,000 a month when Digital Envoy alerted the company in February of what it considered unauthorized conduct. But Digital Envoy rejected the offer because it “fell woefully short of the income enjoyed by Google and the lost income to Digital Envoy.”

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