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