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16 February 2012

Advocate general addresses the issue of jurisdiction in keyword cases

In a busy day in Luxembourg, two advocate general opinions have been handed down, with one specifically tackling the difficulties posed by the national territorial nature of a trademark “and the potentially ubiquitous nature of an infringement committed in another member state via the internet”.

08 February 2012

Will Saturday’s day of action send ACTA the same way as SOPA?

A day of action against the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement is scheduled to take place across Europe on Saturday (February 11). Those intending to protest against the international treaty hope that their actions will lead to the agreement being quashed, or at the very least postponed, as happened with the SOPA and PIPA bills recently.

30 September 2011

Interflora: sweet smell of success or muted victory for trademark owners?

In Interflora Inc v Marks & Spencer Plc, the ECJ has provided some clarification on the scope of trademark protection where a competitor uses a registered trademark as a keyword. The decision highlights the need to balance fair competition with the rights of a trademark owner.

22 September 2011

ECJ’s Interflora ruling: Google the real winner?

The ECJ has given its ruling in Interflora v Marks & Spencer, the latest in a series of decisions on the issue of keyword advertising. It is still not clear which party will emerge victorious when the case is decided by the High Court of England and Wales, but the decision will be welcomed by Google.

15 July 2011

ECJ issues warning to online marketplace operators

In L’Oréal SA v eBay International AG, the ECJ has provided clarification on the liability of companies operating internet marketplaces for trademark infringement committed by users, holding that, in certain circumstances, the operator can be liable for trademark infringement as a result of the postings of its users.

12 July 2011

eBay says it “can live with” today’s major ECJ judgment

Online marketplace eBay has said it “can live with” today’s judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in the ongoing litigation brought against it by L’Oréal. eBay told WTR that it was hoping for more clarity on a number of points, but that the ruling in general reflects “what eBay already does” with regard to stopping the sale of counterfeits on its platform.

28 March 2011

Mixed bouquet for M&S as AG gives opinion on keyword advertising

In Interflora Inc v Marks & Spencer plc, the advocate general has stated that advertisers should be able to "bid" on competitors' famous trademarks in search engine keyword advertising in order to present themselves as a commercial alternative. However, plaintiff Interflora may well ultimately prevail as a result of its unique circumstances.

24 March 2011

Trademark owners can fight keywords advertisers, says advocate general

The latest opinion on keywords advertising could, if followed by the European court, have a significant impact on Google’s advertising model. The advocate general’s opinion in Interflora v M&S advises that a trademark owner can take action against an advertiser who attempts to benefit from the attractive force of the proprietor’s mark. This is the first time that such a high court has opined on a dispute between a trademark owner and advertiser, rather than examining Google’s role – but it could deter advertisers from bidding on others’ trademarks.

14 December 2010

eBay may be liable for trademark infringement by its customers

In L’Oréal SA v eBay International AG, Advocate General Jääskinen has suggested that eBay was not liable for the trademark infringements of its customers, but that it could become so if it failed to take further action once notified. He also stated that injunctions were available against eBay in relation to repeated or continued infringements featuring the same user and the same trademark.

19 July 2010

Circumstances in which resellers can use third-party mark as keyword outlined

In Portakabin Ltd v Primakabin BV, the ECJ has provided guidance on the use of third-party trademarks as keywords to advertise websites selling genuine goods under the marks. Among other things, the ECJ held that the national courts must find that there is a legitimate reason to oppose use of the mark where the reseller has removed the mark from genuine goods and replaced it with its own label.

15 June 2010

Common sense prevails in '.eu' domain name case

The ECJ has issued its decision in Internetportal und Marketing GmbH v Schlicht, a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Oberster Gerichtshof. Internetportal und Marketing GmbH had registered 33 generic terms as trademarks, each incorporating the special character ‘&’ before and after each letter, in order to be eligible to apply to register the corresponding '.eu' domain names during the first part of phased registration.

06 April 2010

Another keywords decision is issued - but this time Google is not a party

In Die BergSpechte Outdoor Reisen und Alpinschule Edi Koblmüller GmbH v Guni, a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Oberster Gerichtshof (Austria), the ECJ has considered more questions relating to Google's AdWords. The ECJ's position was unsurprising in light of its ruling in Google, which was issued only two days earlier.

01 April 2010

Google's use of trademarks as keywords does not constitute infringement

In a highly anticipated decision, the ECJ has held that Google's AdWords system does not breach EU trademark law. Among other things, the ECJ found that the storage of signs identical to trademarks as keywords does not represent use of the marks in the course of trade. However, trademark owners are entitled to prohibit advertisers from using such signs.

23 March 2010

Google: the cost of online trademark protection will skyrocket

Trademark owners' costs have just shot through the roof, with the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union in the joined Google keywords cases placing a heavy strain on mark holders' budgets.

23 March 2010

Google victorious in landmark ECJ keywords decision

Google has won the battle to protect its business model of selling trademark terms as keywords. The Court of Justice of the European Union has today published its hotly anticipated decision in the joined cases against Google, in which several powerful brand owners claimed that the search engine's sale of trademark terms as keywords infringed their rights. The court found for Google.