Following on from the Interflora vs Marks & Spencer case another retailer is upset about AdWords trademark bidding. Handbag retailer Louis Vuitton has lost a court battle with Google in Europes highest court despite initially winning a case in the French courts.
Advocate-General Poiares Maduro said in his legal opinion to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) that “Google has not committed a trademark infringement by allowing advertisers to select keywords corresponding to trademarks.”
He said that Google’s sponsored links did establish a link between keywords and the advertised sites selling products identical or similar to those covered by the trademarks.
“However, such a link also does not constitute a trademark infringement. In effect, the mere display of relevant sites in response to keywords is not enough to establish a risk of confusion on the part of consumers as to the origin of goods or services” he said.
“Internet users are aware that not only the site of the trademark owner will appear as a result of a search in Google’s search engine and sometimes they may not even be looking for that site.”
The thorny issue of brand bidding isn’t going to go away soon and it will be interesting to see how the Interflora case pans out.