Based on the expert advice it has received, the EU’s top court is likely to rule that search engine Google has not infringed trade-mark rights with some adverts on its website.
Luxury goods maker LVMH has gone to court to prevent Google selling trademark protected names as ‘keywords’ that draw web browsers to a particular ad. But the legal decision is that ‘keywords’ are not part of any sale to the general public. Eleanor Sharpston, an Advocate General at the Court of Justice in Luxembourg said: “The selection by an economic operator, by means of an agreement on paid internet referencing, of a keyword, which would trigger in the event of a request using that word the display of a link, does not constitute in itself an infringement of the exclusive right.” LVMH’s Louis Vuitton brand and others are unhappy because makers of counterfeit products have been using the Google keywords service. The EU tribunal, which took the case from a French appeal court, will give its judgement later, but normally follows the opinions given by its advisers.