The Court of Justice of the European Union has today passed a judgement which could spell the end to brand bidding; and allow brands to better protect their trademarked names.
In a judgement which has closed the long battle between popular flower delivery network, Interflora, and Marks & Spencer’s; the Court has ruled in favour of Interflora, agreeing that Marks & Spencer’s shouldn’t be allowed to bid on the keyword “Interflora”.
Interflora began the European legal challenge against Marks & Spencer’s back in December 2008, and the SEO world has been buzzing with controversial opinions on the lawsuit ever since.
Back then, Interflora claimed that the long-standing retailer had breached trademark law by bidding on their company name via AdWords, so that when a user types into the search-engine “Interflora”, Marks & Spencer’s flower service would appear.
Google’s stance on the subject has been typically neutral, although they have stated that purchasing a rival’s brand name as an AdWord is not trademark infringement.
The link for Marks & Spencer’s flower service has appeared just underneath Interflora’s link in a search for “Interflora” for three years now; giving Marks & Spencer’s a huge chance to steal the click from Interflora.
But today’s ruling could end this. Although the judgement needs to be upheld by the High Court in the UK in 2012; we believe today has been a step forward for brands and trademark protection, giving brands the fair chance to attract custom, and giving users more accurate search results.