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A search for “Louis Vuitton” on Google’s British Web site turns up an advertisement for “Designer Handbags 70% off” — to the fury of LVMH, the French luxury goods conglomerate that owns the brand.
Not only are the handbags fake, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton says, but when unauthorized parties buy its trademarks as keywords to generate search ads, its own cost of using those brand names on Google soars.
LVMH and a number of other companies want Google to stop the practice, and a European court ruling expected Tuesday is shaping up to be the biggest test of its legality. Analysts say millions of euros are at stake, in a case with significant implications for the use of the Internet as a marketing tool for brand owners and as a moneymaker for Google.
The European Court of Justice has ruled in favour of Google in a dispute with luxury goods maker LVMH.
The firm is owner of Louis Vuitton, Moet & Chandon champagne, Dior perfume and other brands.
It had claimed that Google's practice of selling keywords in advertising searches to the highest bidder damaged trademark law.
It means that people searching for branded products could also be shown rival brands or counterfeit goods.
"Google has not infringed trademark law by allowing advertisers to purchase keywords corresponding to their competitors' trademarks," the ruling found.
[edited by: engine at 12:34 pm (utc) on Mar 23, 2010]
That statement has no waste and summarises it all. Good for GORG, bad for honest companies.