For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Friday, 21 January 2005

LE MERIDIEN GETS PRELIMINARY RELIEF AGAINST GOOGLE ADWORDS


This from The Register: a French court, ruling that Google's keyword advertising service infringes the trade mark of Le Meridien Hotels, ordered Google.fr to stop using the trade mark to trigger advertisements for Le Meridien's competitors. The judge ordered Google to pay all court fees plus a €2000 ($2,595) fine. The Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre said that Google must stop linking competitor ads to searches for Le Meridien trade mark items and Le Meridien brands. If Google fails to remove offending ad links within 72 hours of being notified of a listing it faces a daily fine of €150 ($195). Google relies on adword sales for around 98 per cent of its income. Not all of this is dependent on competitor searches, however. Still, Google says it will appeal against this decision, saying:

"We will continue to defend against this suit, which we believe is without merit".
The French court's decision at odds with rulings on similar cases in the US. In the case of Geico, a car insurance company, a US court ruled that Google's adword sales were consistent with other comparative advertising practices in the states, and that the practice did not violate federal trade mark laws. However, in Europe, Louis Vuitton has also successfully sued the search company for trade mark infringement.

Le Meridien: litigating against Google may turn out to be an expensive pastime

The IPKat's friend Frédéric Glaize (Meyer & Partenaires) comments:

"A similar judgment by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre was issued on 17 January: Overture has been held legally liable because the judge considered Overture's ad booking tool also encouraged advertisers to chose keywords that were trade marks belonging to Accor. Overture was ordered to pay damages of 200 000 euros and to publish the judgment on its website".

The IPKat welcomes the decision. He doesn't like to see search engines cashing in on a company's reputation in order to damage it by selling "hits" to its competitors. Merpel says there's already enough hassle in telling Meridien from Meridian


Google Image hits for "google-eyed" here
Bowl a googly here
Great Googly Moogly here

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is a dangerous decision to support and will ultimately impede competition in the marketplace. As most Kats would know the US has a far more competitive and consumer friendly marketplace than Europe.

Jeremy said...

Perhaps Anonymous would like to explain to this very simple cat and his readers why this decision will impede competition?

Anonymous said...

Due to direct comparative advertising being effectively banned by this short sighted decision. Clearly not in the public interest. At least the US courts have some clarity on the issue.

Anonymous said...

the decision is NOT about comparative advertising.

In order to help French-impaired readers, we shall try to publish an English translation of the Meridien / Google decision on Juriscom.net

Frédéric

Anonymous said...

Frederic, thank you for the reference. No the decision is not about comparative advertising, it is about the behaviour of Google's search engine, in particular the Advanced option "Your ads may afterwards be automatically publicized for these additional requests" which may cause a competitor's ads to be displayed, and the inclusion of trademarks such as Le Meridien in the AdWord suggestion list.
However, the result of this decision is that it has an impact on comparative advertising, in that Google must change the functionality of their application to comply with the onerous conditions set down in the ruling.

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