Online Traffic School Sues Competitor for Manipulating Google Search Results

On Wednesday, defendant Mizunetwork LLC doing business as TRAFFICSCHOOL 4BUSYPEOPLE (TS4BP) removed a complaint from Santa Clara County Superior Court to the Northern District of California. The dispute by plaintiff Online Learning LLC, which does business as One Click Traffic School (One Click), asserts that the defendant pirated One Click’s internet traffic by using Google adwords to misappropriate its name, goodwill, and customers.

The complaint, initially filed in late July, explains that One Click operates a traffic school website which it dedicated substantial time and resources to building and creating alongside its “One Click Traffic School” mark, which it has used commercially for more than seven years.

However, in the last two years, One Click claims that the defendant, a competing California traffic school, has illegally ridden its coattails by “openly manipulated its Google account and adwords to cause One Click’s name to appear prominently next to Defendant’s own.” The complaint features an example of search results returned for One Click, which depicts a first-listed result showing its name and tagline, but Traffic School’s URL.

In addition, the complaint accuses Traffic School of purchasing keywords composed, in whole or in part, of One Click’s mark through search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing. The suit says that despite One Click’s demand that the defendant stop, Traffic School refused.

In addition to trademark and trade dress infringement, the suit accuses Traffic School of violating California’s Anti-Phishing Act of 2005. The plaintiff alleges, on information and belief, that Traffic School used email correspondence in order to induce individuals to provide identifying information, such as their name, telephone number, and email address, while representing themselves to be One Click without consent.

The suit seeks injunctive relief and damages. The plaintiff is represented by Rossi Domingue LLP and the defendant by Ascendant IP®.