EU Advisor says Google did nothing wrong

Tue 22 September 2009 16:30, Bas van den Beld

EU Advisor says Google did nothing wrong

Google is not constituting any trademark infringement by letting in advertisements for fake products on Google Adwords. That is what an adviser to Europe's Court of Justice said on today.

French luxury product maker LMVH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) has filed the law suit against Google but will come out the loser according to Advocate General Poiares Maduro: "Google has not infringed trade mark rights by allowing advertisers to buy keywords corresponding to registered trademarks,"

LMVH had claimed Google was wrong when accepting an Adwords-campaign of a clothes retailer who bought keywords corresponding to registered trademarks.

Google however did nothing wrong, according to the advocate general:  

"the use of the trade marks is limited to the selection of keywords which is internal to AdWords and concerns only Google and the advertisers."

Google may however be liable for featuring content in its AdWords programm that directly violates trademarks, for example when sponsored links appear which are directly selling fake trademarked products.

The European Court of Justice will be ruling on the matter in a couple of months. Usually the court follows the advice of its advisers. Until that time Google will wait and see what happenes. 

Senior Google lawyer Harjinder Obhi is confident: 

"We believe that selecting a keyword to trigger the display of an ad does not amount to trademark infringement, and that consumers benefit from seeing more relevant information rather than less. We also believe that consumers are smart and are not confused when they see a variety of ads displayed in response to their search queries."

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