Paris, France (AHN) – Google has won a lawsuit brought up by French luxury goods company Louis Vuitton on Tuesday over selling trademarked keywords. The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice ruled that the top search engine’s practice is legal, but it has to do more to protect label owners from infringements.
LVMH sued the search engine, saying Google’s automated Adwords system sells trademarked terms, such as Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, and others, as keywords to companies that sell counterfeit products.
Google argued that selling branded keywords to competitors help online consumers in instances such as in looking for product reviews or second-hand items.
The ECJ ruled that Google should not be required to block the sale of trademarked terms as ad keywords, but the search engine and the advertisers could still be held liable for trademark violations in individual cases.
According to the New York Times, Google is generally not liable for copyright infringement if it removes ads when label owners complain that the trademarks have been violated by the advertisers. Individual advertisers will be held responsible if their ads mislead consumers.
The website may also be held liable if it encourages trademark violations, such as suggesting the term “imitation handbags” as keywords to advertisers.