LVMH Fights Google Over Keyword Buys
Another week, another Louis Vuitton lawsuit. This time Louis Vuitton is taking on Google in the European Court of Justice. When a person googles a brand name they can see paid search results which can belong to companies selling similar bags or replica bags and counterfeits. Parent company LVMH says that Google shouldn't be allowed to sell those brand name search words to other advertisers and that they should belong only to the brand that licenses them.
Google has already appealed the case after a French court ruled that it had violated trademark rights which is why it has been kicked up to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. Google lawyer Alexandra Neri has said that Google only makes money when a person clicks on the ad and that: "The decision to click or not to click belongs to who -- clearly to the Internet user."
Certain words are blocked from being chosen as keywords in France and according to Bloomberg, when Google's French unit receives proof of a registered trademark it then adds it to the blocked list. In the U.S., Google blocks advertisements that include protected trademarks but LVMH has said Google didn't act quickly enough and only makes a move when it is told there is an infraction (this sounds a lot like LVMH's complaints with eBay over the policing of their site).
This case will take a while, the advocate general on the case is expected to give a non-binding opinion by June 4 but the final ruling may not come until the end of the year.