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Google Taken to Court by Luis Vuitton Over Trademark Infringement
by Editor, Web Wise Business (18 March 2009)

The row over trademark infringement and Pay Per Click(PPC) continues as LVMH, the company behind the Luis Vuitton brand of hand bags and luggage, have taken Google to court in a row over trademark usage.

LVMH have accused Google of selling keyword terms such as "vuitton" to PPC campaign managers for rival brands and firms selling counterfeit copies of Luis Vuitton designs. LVMH argue that when users Google the brand name, they will now be directed to competitors or counterfeiters.

Originally disputed in a lower French court, which ruled against Google, the case has since been escalated to the European Court of Justice (EJC) in Luxembourg following an appeal.

LVMH have been actively defending their trademarks online or late, having sued eBay to the tune of 40million euros last June. The French court ruled that eBay had not done enough to stop the sale of counterfeit handbags, perfumes and luggage under LVMH brand names such as Luis Vuitton, Givenchy and Christian Dior.

The case, which is unlikely to be resolved for months, follows the recent case lodged by world-wide florists Interflora against Marks and Spencerover M&S bidding on the Interflora brand name as part of their PPC campaign for their own florist services.

The outcomes of both of these cases could set a precedent for online marketing, which has for years considered targeting rival brand names as accepted practice for PPC and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns.

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