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This week in court news

Technology played a new role in the court as the world awaited the jury's sentence in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial.

Technology played a new role in the court as the world awaited jury's sentence in the Scott Peterson double-murder trial.

Peterson's death penalty sentencing was covered live via a wireless device, adding a new dimension to TV news coverage. A TV reporter used a laptop to send reports from inside the courtroom back to the TV station's newsroom, using an existing wireless network inside the courtroom. The word picture augmented what was an audio-only feed from inside the courtroom due to a ban on cameras in the court.

Meanwhile, Google scored a big legal win when a federal judge ruled that the use of trademarks in keyword advertising is legal. The judge granted Google's motion to dismiss a trademark infringement complaint brought by Geico, which had charged Google with violating its trademarks by using the word "Geico" to trigger rival ads in sponsored search results. Geico claimed that the practice diluted its trademarks and caused consumer confusion.

The ruling is a triumph for Google because the search giant derives as much as 95 percent of its advertising revenue from keyword-triggered ads, which appear next to Web search results. Trademarks play a central role to the sale of such ads because people often use Web search to find products and services with common, trademarked brand names such as Nike or Geico.

However, the American Chemical Society filed suit against Google, alleging that the company violated a trademark held by the group when it launched the Google Scholar search tool. The suit claims that Google's use of the word "scholar" violates a May 2003 trademark held by ACS for the name of its Web-based academic search tool, SciFinder Scholar.

Both SciFinder Scholar and Google Scholar are designed to let individuals search previously published academic research. The fundamental difference between the two products is that SciFinder Scholar is used to index information stored in the ACS databases, while the Google tool indexes research already made publicly available on the Internet.