EU court adviser backs Google in ads row with LMVH
“Google did not infringe the trademark rights, allowing advertisers to buy keywords related to trademarks,” Attorney General Poiares Maduro said in an opinion that is influential but not binding on the courts of Europe.
The case relates to Google’s lucrative practice of accepting money from a clothing retailer, for example, to ensure your business appears among Internet search results when a special design mark are typed in.
This happens through “Google Adwords” system that allows advertisers to buy keywords that correspond to trademarks.
The poster, often lesser-known name will appear along with the best known brands have piggy-backed under the heading “Sponsored Links” and that is where the likes of LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) have denounced irregularities.
The Attorney General said there was no violation of the brand as “the use of the marks is limited to the selection of keywords, which is internal to AdWords and affects only Google and advertisers.”
However, the court counselor added, Google may be responsible for the content it offers in its AdWords program violates trademark directly.
For example, Google could be held liable if a sponsored link appears the sale of fake Rolex watches.
Senior counsel Harjinder Google Obhi the opinion of Advocate General “forward” and said the company was awaiting the ruling of the Court in a few months time.
“We believe the selection of a keyword to trigger the display of an advertisement does not constitute trademark infringement, and will benefit consumers see the most relevant information, not less,” he said in a statement.
“We also believe consumers are smart and not become confused when they see a variety of ads in response to search queries,” he added.
Google is to the European Court of Justice in connection with a case of France, where a number of companies like Louis Vuitton have complained that Google had infringed its trademark rights.
The French court in the case, the Court of Cassation, has asked the European Court to rule on whether trademark owners can prevent Google from selling the right to use their trademarks as keywords.
The opinion of Advocate General is not binding but is usually followed by European courts.