The High Court has ended a 6 year litigation battle between Google and the ACCC in relation to the sale of adwords, sponsored links, and allegations of misleading and deceptive conduct – by clearing Google of liability. If you’ve missed the history on this, you can read our earlier report here.
The implication flowing from this decision, and the relevant factor to business, is that the primary responsibility for misleading and deceptive representations in things like sponsored ad words is held by the advertiser itself, not the search engine.
What does this mean for you?
Buying a competitor’s brand as a keyword and displaying a sponsored link on a search engine such as Google can potentially land you in hot water. So don’t even consider using competitor’s trade marks in your search engine optimisation or in advertising like paid Google adwords, unless you are ready for a fight.
If you are using Google as an advertising platform, or you organise this sort of marketing on behalf of your clients, you need to take care that you don’t mislead or deceive consumers, or infringe other parties’ IP rights.
Equally, this case is a good reminder for you to check that you don’t have competitors trying to unfairly trade off your web traffic. If you find that a competitor is using your trade mark in its search engine optimisation strategies, or as google ad words, you have a number of avenues open to you to get back your traffic.
If you spot a competitor using your trademark as a sponsored adword, contact us on 02 8006 0830 or [email protected] for a confidential discussion about what you can do to stop competitors stealing your web traffic.
Disclaimer: The material contained on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not depend upon any information appearing on this website without seeking legal advice. We do not guarantee that the contents of this website will be accurate, complete or up-to-date.