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Google AdWords: Did Google really win?

Intellectual Property Newsletter

Google AdWords: Did Google really win?

On 23 March 2010, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) rendered its judgment in Joined Cases C-236, 237 & 238/08 – the so-called GOOGLE ADWORD cases. The preliminary ruling was requested by the French Cour de cassation (Supreme Court), where three judgments finding Google liable for trademark infringement and unfair competition were pending. At issue is Google’s AdWords programme: Google allows parties to acquire or bid for ‘keywords’ which, when entered by internet users in the Google search bar, will trigger advertisement – so-called ‘sponsored links’ – appearing above or alongside the ‘natural’ search results. When the ‘sponsored link’ is clicked, the user will arrive at the website of the purchaser of the keyword, and Google will get paid.

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