Google wins European trademark battle

Google won an important trademark victory in Europe yesterday, with a potentially landmark ruling covering Web advertising.
 
The European Court of Justice ruled that Google doesn’t infringe trademark laws by selling advertising keywords to companies, in a case brought by French luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton Malletier.
 
LVM alleged trademark infringement because searches conducted on Google for several of its brands brought up sponsored results for sites offering imitation or rival products.
 
It filed a complaint with the French Court of Cassation, which in turn referred the matter to the Court of Justice.
 
That judiciary ruled that Google’s actions are fair, noting that Google is clear about its policy for selling key words to advertisers through its AdWords service.
 
However, the Court said advertisers should not use keywords they haven’t paid for, or that “do not allow Internet users easily to establish from which undertaking the goods or services covered by the ad in question originate.”
 
The ruling could prove important in the future development of e-commerce in Europe, providing legal precedent for the protection of ISPs from any liability over the content they display, Computerworld reports.
 
According to the Court of Justice, “when an Internet user performs a search on the basis of one or more key words, the search engine will display the sites which appear best to correspond to those key words.”

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