A cross-industry action against Google over changes to its trademark policy is on the verge of falling apart after a number of key parties backed away from the idea over the summer.
Travolution understands that some of the companies known to be part of the original committee – including at least two major travel companies – have withdrawn their support after likely legal costs proved prohibitive.
The news that a high-profile action – which could have seen an unprecedented collection of major UK consumer brands taken on the search giant – has fallen apart will also fuel speculation that a concerted effort to play down the effect of the policy change has prevailed.
Google angered a string of companies in May this year when it changed a long-running brand protection policy.
The switch allowed any company to bid on the brand name of another organisation in paid-for search advertising, initially triggering a free-for-all in the travel sector and at least one legal threat between rival companies, Teletext Holidays against Directline Holidays.
A source close to the situation told Travolution: “As Google probably hoped, a cooling off period after that flurry of activity in May has seen what looks like a period of reflection by some of those involved.
“The costs of mounting a major legal battle against Google are probably just too much given the economic climate.
“In addition it seems that the results of bidding against other company brand names have ranged from only mildly encouraging to negligible, so the activity has slowed down considerably.”