Google wins trademark battle with Louis Vuitton

  • 0
  • September 22, 2009
Patrick Altoft

Patrick Altoft

Director of Strategy

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.

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