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Google's French woes--another trademark suit

AXA files a lawsuit in Europe over alleged trademark infringement related to ads sold by the popular search engine.

Insurance conglomerate AXA has filed a lawsuit in Europe against Google over alleged trademark infringement related to advertisements sold by the popular search engine. Mountain View, Calif.-based Google confirmed the lawsuit Monday, but the company would not discuss details of the case. AXA, based in Paris, could not immediately be reached for comment. A preliminary hearing in the case is reportedly scheduled for May 10 in Paris.

The suit comes as Google implements changes to its popular keyword ad program in the United States and Canada, allowing marketers to bid on trademark names such as "AXA" so that they can appear in related search results--a policy that is at the heart of AXA's and others' complaints. Previously, Google has limited the practice to avoid legal struggles, but now it plans to review trademark complaints that only relate to text appearing in ads on its site. Google's overseas trademark policy will remain unchanged.