Response Insurance, a national direct-to-the-consumer auto insurer, gained the cooperation of Google to stop a company suspected of violating the Company’s federally registered trademark RESPONSE INSURANCE by using the name to link to a non-Response Insurance sponsored web site. However, the practice employed by that company — AutoandHome.com — appears to continue with other insurers, among them Allstate, Nationwide, Travelers, The Hartford, Erie, and Liberty Mutual.
“Competition is healthy, but only when everyone plays by the rules,” said Mory Katz, Chairman and CEO of the Response Insurance Group. “Consumers need some expectation that when they click on the name of a specific insurer, they actually reach that insurer.”
“We are pleased with Google’s policy of correcting the problem when it is called to their attention, however there appears to be a continuing effort by AutoandHome.com to deceive the public by misrepresenting themselves,” said August P. Alegi, General Counsel of the Response Insurance Group. “We are urging all insurers to examine the web advertising of AutoandHome.com and address any deceptive practices they find by notifying the search engine operator.”
In the case of Response Insurance, when a person entered the words “response insurance” into the Google web search, the name “Response Insurance” appeared as a Sponsored Link. However, the name linked to a company with no affiliation or connection to Response Insurance. That company, AutoandHome.com, was served with a cease and desist notice on April 19, 2005.