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Google Wins Louis Vuitton Seo Legal Battle

Search engine giant Google has won a landmark legal battle against fashion designer Louis Vuitton over the misuse of the latter’s trademarks for search engine optimisation purposes.

Judges have stated that Google is not liable when people use trademarked keywords to promote counterfeit goods or alternative products.

The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Google because the company played a neutral role in the business-to-business marketing campaigns in question.

It noted that the firm’s AdWords product is seen as an ‘information society service’ under EU law, which means all Google has to do to abide by European regulations is take action when it is notified of any copyright infringement uncovered by concerned parties.

However, the judges went on to say that firms which used trademarked material to deceive consumers were at risk of being sued – highlighting the many legal implications that SEO (search engine optimisation) campaigns can have.

Speaking to the Guardian, Michael Gardner, partner at Wedlake Bell, said: “Google have dodged the bullet on this one.

“AdWords is a key money-earner for them so this is a big legal victory. But advertisers who do use other people’s brand names as part of their search engine strategy are still potentially in the firing line.”

However, Google’s senior litigation counsel Dr Harjinder Obhi said the European Court of Justice’s ruling was “important because it is a fundamental principle behind the free flow of information over the internet”.

He added: “Some companies want to limit choice for users by extending trademark law to encompass the use of keywords in online advertising.

“Ultimately, they want to be able to exercise greater control over the information available to users by preventing other companies from advertising when a user enters their trademark as a search query.”

The ruling by the European Court of Justice is not wholly unexpected as a preliminary judgement issued last year was supportive of Google’s position on the use of trademarked keywords in search engine optimisation (SEO) campaigns.

As with the final ruling, the preliminary decision included the purchase of trademarked keywords through AdWords by firms with no legal right to reproduce them.


About the Author:
Mediarun is a search engine marketing company specialising in search engine optimisation, website optimisation, website marketing and social media optimisation (SMO) .
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