European Court of Justice Rules in Google v LVMH

Luxury good maker Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy (LVMH), who produces Moet & Chandon champagne and Dior perfume, claimed that Google’s advertising polices violated their trademark. The practice in question was the use of key words related to brand names by counterfeiters, who would then link to online stores.

Based on reported coverage of the case, the European Court of Justice made several main findings in a decision released this morning:

  1. Google has not infringed copyright simply for allowing companies to purchase trade mark key words
  2. Google cannot be liable for advertising requests if it removes them when informed that a trade mark has been abused
  3. Trade mark owners have the right to stop their use in AdWords when they suggest they are linked to the owner or create confusion about the owner
  4. Companies can still claim compensation if a court rules that the misuse of trade mark damages the brand
  5. Google will be liable for infringement if it does not act quickly to stop the misuse of trade mark

Both sides are claiming victory.

A copy of the decision can be found here, and a summary of the case by the court here. Google’s blog post in response to the case can be found here, and a press release by LVMH can be found here.

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