Google Defeated in Second French AdWords Suit

A French court on Friday ruled against Google in a trademark infringement case brought by Louis Vuitton Malletier, in the latest legal setback to the search giant overseas.

The Paris District Court has sanctioned Google and its French subsidiary from selling search-related advertisements against trademarks owned by the luxury fashion designer, which sued the search giant in early 2004. The court charged Google with trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition and misleading advertising. Google was ordered to pay $257,430 (200,000 euros):

The ruling comes on the heels of another French court order against Google, in a case brought by European chain Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts. In that lawsuit, the court said Google infringed on Le Meridien’s trademarks by allowing the hotel chain’s rivals to bid on keywords of its name and then appear prominently in those related search results.

Tassarch describes a novel solution to the problem:

Google could easily make it a policy that if you sue them, they blacklist you. They have no obligation … to index your site. It’s their servers and their software, so they can do whatever they want with it (sic). Actully, you could even make a strong argument that they have a fiduciary obligation to their shareholders to avoid lawsuits, so blacklisting the trademarks of hostile companies is just good business practice.

Source: Stefanie Olsen, CNET News