Louis Vuitton bags Google

The IPKat got this item from Olivier van Droogenbroek (Allen & Overy, Brussels) first. Many thanks, Olivier ...

Last Wednesday the Cour d'appel de Paris found that Google had infringed Vuitton's trade marks, by selling those marks as adwords that were used by sellers of counterfeit or infringing Louis Vuitton products. The most interesting part of the decision (which has not yet been published as far as Olivier or the IPKat are aware) is the following:

"Il lui est interdit, dans le cadre de son activité de régie publicitaire, l'usage des marques appartenant à la société Louis-Vuitton sur toutes les extensions de son site accessibles depuis la France".
In other (English) words, Google is ordered to refrain from using adwords on its websites if they are accessible in France, regardless of their top level domain extension (.com, .hk, …).

The IPKat feels somewhat anxious about the use of adwords. It's all very well to say that the sale of manufacturers' trade marks as adwords is legitimate where the purchaser is, say, a responsible and respected retailer but illegitimate where the purchaser sells fakes and infringements. However, once the adword is sold by the search engine provider without the trade mark owner being able to do anything about it, it can be difficult for him to keep monitoring the manner in which the adword is used. Merpel agrees: the problem is particularly acute where the adword user may be selling genuine products that have been sourced from both inside and outside the European Economic Area. Where does that leave us?

New French copyright law

Following a tip-off from Richard Evans (IPworldonline) the IPKat can confirm that the French Assemblée Nationale passed a new copyright law on Friday. This law, the so-called 'iTunes law', is intended to force Apple to make its iPod music player and iTunes online store compatible with rivals' offerings. According to Business Week Online, songs bought on iTunes can be played only on iPods and an iPod can't play downloads from other stores that rival the extensive iTunes music catalogue from major artists and labels - like Sony Corp.'s Connect and Napster.

The constitutionality of the new law has been challenged by opposition Socialists and Greens and it will not come into force after that challenge is exhausted. Less controversially, the French law also introduces new penalties for a range of online piracy offences: up tthree years in prison and a 300,000 euro fine for knowingly offering or advertising a download service for pirated music or videos.

Below: how the French like their apples - golden delicious ...

The IPKat is surprised at the French initiative and wonders what impact it will make - if it is held valid - upon the single European market for music downloads. Merpel says, I'm surprised too that this has slipped by as a unique national initiative and not as emanating from the European Commission: it shows that, even now, it's not too late for EU member states to call the legislative shots. And if France is right to do this, shouldn't all other member states follow suit?

Why iTunes is too expensive here
Freedom Fries here
BONJOUR FROM FRANCE BONJOUR FROM FRANCE Reviewed by Jeremy on Monday, July 03, 2006 Rating: 5

1 comment:

  1. Following the logic of the French law requiring iPod-like devices to be able to play "standard" mp3 tunes, can we look forward to computer printers being required to use "standard" printer cartridges rather than proprietary ones? Or how about mobile phones accepting only proprietary batteries?

    If Apple want to enter the music downloading business and consider that in order to avoid copyright problems they need to develop their own proprietary player to stop copying, why should they not be able to sell a device which only plays iTunes? My take on the French law is that it is simply an anti-US measure.


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