Google, LVMH Cheer Trademark Infringement Ruling

    July 13, 2010

Anyone who had hoped the French Supreme Court would be able settle the dispute between Google and LVMH over keywords, advertising, and trademark infringement is in for an unpleasant surprise.  The French Supreme Court did in fact rule on the case today, but now both sides are celebrating.

GoogleA little background info: the clash centers on whether or not Google can let advertisers bid on trademarked keywords.  Several luxury brands have argued that this practice benefits counterfeiters, and the companies have scored the occasional win against Google and eBay in an ongoing series of legal battles.

As for the new development, a post on Google’s European Public Policy Blog claimed this afternoon, "[T]he French Supreme Court was unequivocal in their rulings and anyone who reads them will be left in no doubt that there was no trade mark infringement in these cases.  In addition, the Court went beyond the European Court of Justice by excluding any act of unfair competition or misleading advertising by Google."

The catch is that the French Supreme Court also referred the case to a French Court of Appeal, and while Google called that decision a standard practice, LVMH is describing it as another chance to secure a definitive victory.

Don’t count on seeing the matter resolved anytime soon, then.  Google and LVMH instead seem likely to stretch it out by assigning even more lawyers to the case.

The French Supreme Court’s ruling is available here (in French) if you’re interested, at any rate.