Dr. Martens Sues Temu for Manipulating Google Search Results

British leather shoe brand Dr. Martens has filed a lawsuit against Chinese online retailer Temu. The company claims Temu manipulates Google searches to show Dr. Martens’ similar products in search results.

According to a report in The Sunday Times, Temu paid Google for advertising to serve ads for similar boots sold on its site when users in certain markets search for keywords such as “Dr. Martens” or “Airwair.”

Dr. Martens pointed out that this intentional manipulation caused Temu’s similar products to appear higher in the search results than Dr. Martens’ products. The company further stated in its complaint that Temu’s actions violated Google’s policies, particularly its policy prohibiting advertisements that infringe on trademark rights. Nevertheless, Google does not place restrictions on advertisers’ use of trademarks as keywords.

In the past, Dr. Martens has also sued fast fashion retailers for trademark infringement and unfair competition. In November 2020, the company filed a complaint against its parent company, Zoetop Business Co., Limited, alleging that Romwe, a sister retailer of Shein, is selling its knockoffs.

Dr. Martens has seen its stock price fall nearly 83% since going public in 2021. In January of this year, the company’s third-quarter sales fell 21% to about $340 million (£267.1 million).

Meanwhile, Temu’s parent company, PDD Holdings, announced in March that its annual sales rose 90% to $34.9 billion (£28 billion). The company’s rapid growth has been accompanied by a surge in advertising revenues.

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