Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The French Supreme Court this afternoon ruled in Google’s favour in a series of groundbreaking trademark cases.
Back in March, Europe’s highest court ruled that Google had not infringed trade mark law by allowing advertisers to bid for keywords corresponding to third party trade marks. The ruling applies to three cases, one with Louis Vuitton, another brought by bride service CNRRH and another by travel agency Viaticum. As is standard practice, the ECJ referred the cases back to France for their final judgment.
Today, the French Supreme Court was unequivocal in their rulings and anyone who reads them will be left in no doubt that there was no trade mark infringement in these cases. In addition, the Court went beyond the European Court of Justice by excluding any act of unfair competition or misleading advertising by Google. The Court also ruled in Google’s favour in a related fourth case brought by a French company called Gifam.
All cases that are judged by the Supreme Court are automatically referred to a French Court of Appeal. But the appeal court needs to apply today’s judgement.
Our guiding principle has always been that advertising should benefit users, and our aim is to ensure that ads are relevant and useful. We believe that user interest is best served by maximizing the choice of keywords, ensuring relevant and informative advertising for a wide variety of different contexts. So, we believe this is a good day for users who will continue to benefit from greater rather than restricted choice.
Posted by: Benjamin Du Chaffaut, Google Legal Counsel, France