back to article Basket case lawsuit: Fancy fruit florists flail Google over rotten ads, demand $200m damages

Google is being sued for more than $200m (£143m) by makers of fruit bouquets – because the web giant unfairly prioritized competitors' wares over their arty produce in search results, allegedly. Edible Arrangements – which specializes in crafting and delivering baskets of fruit cut to look like flowers – claimed that when …

  1. graeme leggett

    Interesting but...

    That the business trading name is made up of two descriptive words of their activities might be the cause.

    If I call my cardboard box making company "Big Cardboard Box Ltd" and a prospective customer googles for me with 'big cardboard box' I shouldn't be surprised if other packing material providers appear in search results.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting but...

      On first look that would appear to be the case but do they have a case? If someone in the area you sell goods is using your exact trademark to buy ad space then you could argue that they are abusing your trademark. I'm not a lawyer but I can see the argument. I don't think it's about other results being shown I think the suspicion is that they are using the trademark. At least the poor lawyers will be able to feed their families now.

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        At least the Edible Arrangements® Company is getting some publicity that way

        I'm not sure they get anything from Google, but they certainly will become a bit more famous.

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: At least the Edible Arrangements® Company is getting some publicity that way


          I guess it worked. I didn't know edible fruit based fake flower arranging was even a thing until a minute ago. I'm not sure this knowledge has particularly improved my life though...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: At least the Edible Arrangements® Company is getting some publicity that way

            They can do wonders with cucumbers.

  2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    Edible Arrangements

    Don't they offer window-dressing services for Apple Showrooms?

  3. malle-herbert

    Google AdWords...

    Is basically an extortion racket...

    Pay us... or we'll put someone else's link at the top and yours at the bottom...

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Google AdWords...

      From that perspective, any adverts for a format which allows more than one ad in a viewing field (f.e. newspaper) are an extortion racket. While essentially true, it is a racket we have learned to live with, so frankly, they are edibly arranging sour grapes.

      1. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        Re: Google AdWords...

        WAT? That is hugely different. The newspaper search function is my physical eyeball. This would be more in the realm of a newspaper calling up and saying, "Do you want your ad to go next to an article we are running on company X?" Not exactly of course, because Adwords is an open platform. For abuse.

    2. Aitor 1 Silver badge

      Re: Google AdWords...

      Backblaze explain quite right how it works:

      So it is not only "Edible Arrangements", it is also "backblaze", a word that whould NOT trigger google to put ads.. in my computer it triggers adds for backblaze (that is stealing sirs), idrive and softwarereviews.

      It is using a protected trademark for diluting the term, and it is wrong.

      1. BugabooSue

        Re: Google AdWords...

        @Aitor 1

        Thanks for bringing this to our notice. I am seriously impressed at this attitude.

        Well done Backblaze. Well done Gleb.

        We are going to try the same thing. Hey it probably won’t work, but until we try, we won’t know.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Google AdWords...

        But they got the Backblaze advertising wrong.

        If someone is searching for 'Backblaze' then they know what they are looking for and Backblaze were coming top of the organic search results and there were no competitor adverts (originally). So why advertise using that key term at all? As they stated the customer will click the top link very often.

        If you come top of the search results for you brand then don't pay for an adword for your brand if there are no other bidders for it. The trouble is marketeers wee the results of all the sales and clicks coming from adwords and assume they will lose them all if they stop that bid - they won't people will just click their organic link instead and they'll get the same customer and sale for free. I know I told our marketing department to do it and there was no change in customers.

        If there is someone else bidding for your brand word then you will either need to do what Backblaze did or you will need to outbid.

        This is also true of generic terms where you come top of organic results and there are no advertisers for that word or phrase.

        You will need to check regularly though!

  4. DavCrav Silver badge

    "Edible Arrangements’ valuable trademark"

    How in the hell did Edible Arrangements get a trademark for a description of their product? Hold on, while I go and register the trademark 'Dining Tables', and sue everyone into oblivion.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Welcome to USA

      "Edible Arrangements’ valuable trademark"

      Default modus operandi of USPTO: allow anything and let the court sort it out.

      It is something which is very heavily lobbied to happen here (see discussion of Batistelli articles on the reg) and something which should never be allowed.

    2. Chemical Bob

      "How in the hell did Edible Arrangements get a trademark for a description of their product?"

      By applying for it.

  5. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    Before Google

    IIRC (dredging up an old QI fact here), when people used to use directory enquiries, there were a group of taxi firms in NYC owned by the same person, and called things like "Your Choice" and "Up To You", so that when the operator asked which taxi firm the caller wished to use, these firms would regularly get business.

    1. Alistair Silver badge

      Re: Before Google

      This is also why, back in the days of that very large, very heavy yellow coloured book that landed on your porch each spring, there were so many AAA (something) companies.

      (who me? why, yes I am a crusty old fart)

      1. Pedigree-Pete

        Re: Yellow Pages

        @ Alistair. Some thing similar going on with Aardvark too. PP

        >> Nearly beer o'clock.

  6. Bonzo_red

    Strange. If I put "edible arrangements" into google, up pops "Edible Arrangements (R)"

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I am not certain that "edible arrangements" is a "generic expression", or whatever they said, and if not, then let it be a trademark. I don't think I knew it existed. However, I may have seen this previously, from 2011:

      "Continued Existence Of Edible Arrangements Disproves Central Tenets Of Capitalism"

      If so, my brain decided it was not information to be retained.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Likewise, never heard of them so I Googled them ( FWIW) and every hit on the results page was for them. Their site at the top, wikipedia extract on the right and lots of other links to both them and stories about the lawsuit below. No competitors were listed at all and no generic articles containing the phrase "edible arrangements".

      From my point of view, that's a poor result. It's a small US company who likely doesn't export to the UK so if I was searching for supplier in the UK I might think there is no such thing. Googles suggestion drop-down did suggest "edible arrangements UK" as an option, but why should a UK user of have to specify they want UK results? That ought to be the default.

  7. 's water music Silver badge

    that awkward moment...

    ...when you kind of want both parties to lose but also the lawyers too

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe they could resolve it by making an agreement and writing it on paper that you can eat.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      OK. I'm trademarking edible contracts as we speak.

      You're welcome to use my service. Tasty terms & comestible conditions apply.

  9. plrndl
    Thumb Down

    Pot? Meet Kettle

    If you use generic English words as your trading name, in the hope of getting a free ride from Google, you should not be surprised when your competitors try to outrank you by paying Google for advertising their alternatives.

  10. John Crisp


    Google do Ads ? Really ? How quaint :-)

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Stupid generic names

    Yeah, this happens in open source too... there's a visio-alike called dia or diagram or something like that, so when you search for it, or for plugins or source, the actual hits are 3 pages in.

    I suggested they use a more non-generic name and they got all pissy.

    1. Not That Andrew

      Re: Stupid generic names

      Reminds me of when I pointed out that GIMP was a remarkably stupid name for a piece of software that aimed to be the Open Sauce answer to Photoshop.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Re: Stupid generic names

        But a great way to attract the photoshopping-celeb-faces-on-pornstar-bodies set.

  12. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Long time coming?

    I'm pretty sure I got my wife some kind of edible arraignment when our first daughter was born twenty years ago. Also that the company name was something along these lines. Boutique companies use cutesy names all the time to try to stick in consumer's heads. Did you know that there is/was a company called "You're Fired"? Pottery company. Predated The Apprentice. I suspect that there is an excellent chance that the company was around well before Google was a major thing.

    So please to presume that they are just a lawsuit company--we really don't know that.

    1. DJSpuddyLizard

      Re: Long time coming?

      I'm pretty sure I got my wife some kind of edible arraignment when our first daughter was born twenty years ago.

      What was she edibly arrested for?

      1. Alistair Silver badge

        Re: Long time coming?

        "What was she edibly arrested for?"

        You try eating your dinner after watching that happen......

    2. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Long time coming?

      > I'm pretty sure I got my wife some kind of edible arraignment when our first daughter was born twenty years ago.

      I got my GF an (possibly NSFW) edible arrangement, but she wasn't too happy about it.

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