We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

EU rules that Adwords don't infringe trademark laws

The ruling is seen as a boost for Google

A ruling Thursday in Europe’s Court of Justice could have wide-reaching implications for online advertising.

Judges confirmed that companies using competitors’ names as Internet advertising keywords are not infringing European trademark laws. This news will be a major boost to Google’s revenue-generating Adwords service.

The decision follows a long-running battle between Google and trademark owners. Thursday’s case involved temporary cabin maker Portakabin and its competitor Primakabin. Primakabin chose the keywords ‘portakabin’, ‘portacabin’, ‘portokabin’ and ‘portocabin’ as its search terms for Google Adwords. The last three variations were chosen so that internet users searching for the company would not miss Primakabin’s ad due to a minor spelling mistake.

The judgment by the Luxembourg-based court, Europe's highest legal authority, accepted that when a user searches Google on the basis of one or more words, the search engine will display the sites which appear to best correspond to those words. It further allowed that customers of Google’s paid-for Adwords service may choose whichever words they want, within reason, without infringing trademark law.

The court ruling upholds a precedent set by the Google-Louis Vuitton case, when the latter claimed that its brand name triggered ads for companies selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton goods. The court in that case found that if Internet service providers were “neutral” about the content, then trademark law was not infringed.


IDG UK Sites

Best Black Friday 2014 tech deals: Get bargains on smartphones, tablets, laptops and more

IDG UK Sites

Why you shouldn't buy your gadgets at launch: Wait and pick up a bargain

IDG UK Sites

Artist creates a geometric rave in a chapel for The House of St Barnabus

IDG UK Sites

Mac mini (Late 2014) 1.4 GHz review: Mac mini is sort of upgradable, but is it any good as it is?