EU court: Google not liable for AdWord counterfeits

23 03 2010

The European Court of Justice has ruled in favor of Google in an AdWords case over the advertising of counterfeits. The court said that the service provider—in this case, Google—could not be held liable for shady retailers buying trademarked keywords in order to sell their faux products, and that the sale of those keywords should be left open to third parties.

Google has been dealing with this case in Europe for at least five years, ever since luxury retailer Louis Vuitton won a lawsuit against AdWords in France. The search giant had allowed retailers selling fake LV wares to buy keywords like “Louis Vuitton replicas” and “Louis Vuitton fakes.” The design house alleged that Google didn’t have the right to sell the keywords using their brand name, and the court agreed. Google appealed the ruling and took it to Europe’s highest court, where it worked its way through the system for nearly two more years before Tuesday’s ruling.

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