Google can sell firms' trademarks as AdWords, rules European Court of Justice

Warwick Ashford

The European Court of Justice has ruled that Google can continue selling search terms using trademarked keywords.

Luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton, tried to block Google from selling the brand names as search terms to the highest bidder through its AdWords service.

They were unhappy that when Google users search for their brands, Google ads for competing and even counterfeit products appear alongside the search results.

The brand owners were challenging Google's sale of AdWords in the French courts, but the European Court of Justice was called in to rule on the controversial issue.

"Google has not infringed trademark law by allowing advertisers to purchase keywords corresponding to their competitors' trademarks," the court found.

The court has taken six months to deliver its ruling, which was widely expected by European legal commentators.

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