Sunday, March 21, 2010

Does Adwords Infringe Trademarks?

An interesting trademark case goes before the Court of Justice of the European Union next on Tuesday which will rule on Google’s use trade marks to trigger online ads that are claimed to infringe trademarks and brand-protection. The issue is whether a company can buy the right for its ads to be displayed when a rival's trade marks is searched. Should someone searching Louis Vuitton (LVMH) be shown ads paid for by its competitors. A case referred to the same courts centres on whether Marks and Spencer should be allowed to use the term ‘Interflora’ in AdWords.

The Google’s AdWords system allows anyone to have their paid advertisement appear when a certain search term is entered by a user, irrespective of whether that search term is a trade mark or not. Google gives the highest spots to the highest payers and the advert's relevance and it makes significant amount of its money through AdWords.

To read more

The European Court of Justice has ruled in favour of Google. This means that people searching for branded products could also be shown rival brands or even counterfeit goods.

The ruling states that "Google has not infringed trademark law by allowing advertisers to purchase keywords corresponding to their competitors' trademarks."

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