More AdWords ...! A quick lunch time post to let our readers know that the European Court of Justice's (CJ) decision in the German AdWord referral in "Eis.de GmbH v BBY Vertriebsgesellschaft mbH", in short: "Eis.de" (case C-91/09) has now been published. The case was originally called "Bananabay" in Germany (case reference: I ZR 125/07). For more background on this case, please see the IPKat's earlier posts here and here.
In a mere court order of 26 March 2010, the ECJ has now also answered the German Federal Supreme Court's (Bundesgerichtshof) question on AdWord use. The outcome is a bit of an anti-climax and if you think you have read it all before, well, you are not mistaken. The CJ's response in Eis.de is almost identical to that given in the Austrian BergSpechte referral of 26 March 2010 (Case C-278/08, see the IPKat's post here) and very similar to the CJ's responses in Google France (joined Cases C-266 to 238/08, see the IPKat's post here and here) of 23 March 2010. The CJ cites joined Cases C-266 to 238/08 in almost every paragraph of Eis.de. Most notably the court refers to paragraphs 65-73, 79, 81, 83 -84, 89 - 90, 98 of cases C-266 to 238/08.
Please note that this blog post is based on the IPKat's translation of the German version of the order since we do not yet have an official English translation. The Eis.de case was based on the following facts: the claimant and the defendant both sold adult entertainment products. The claimant who owned a trade mark registration for "bananabay" sought to stop its competitor's use of that trade mark as an 'AdWord' claiming trade mark infringement and seeking damages.
The Bundesgerichtshof had referred the following question to the CJ:
"Is there use for the purposes of Article 5(1)(a) of Directive 89/104/EEC where a third party provides as a keyword to a search engine operator a sign which is identical with a trade mark, without the consent of the proprietor of that trade mark, so that, on inputting the sign identical with the trade mark as a search term into the search engine, an electronic promotional link to the third party's website advertising identical goods or services appears in an advertising block set apart from the list of search results, that link is marked as a sponsored link and the advertisement itself does not comprise the sign nor contain any reference to the trade mark proprietor or to the products it is offering for sale?"
"Article 5(1)(a) of First Council Directive 89/104/EEC of 21 December 1988 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks must be interpreted as meaning that the proprietor of a trade mark is entitled to prohibit an advertiser from advertising, on the basis of a keyword identical that trade mark which that advertiser has, without the consent of that proprietor, selected in connection with an internet referencing service, goods or services identical with those for which that mark is registered, in the case where that advertising does not enable an average internet user, or enables that user only with difficulty, to ascertain whether the goods or services referred to therein originate from the proprietor of the trade mark or by an undertaking which is economically connected to it or, on the contrary, originate from a third party."