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Google loses another trademark fight in France

Handbagged by Louis Vuitton

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Google has lost another trademark infringement fight in Europe, this time to luxury goods company Louis Vuitton.

The Paris District Court has ruled that the search company's practise of selling advertising triggered by searches for trademarked brand names does infringe the Louis Vuitton trademark. It charged Google with trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition and misleading advertising and ordered the company to pay €200,000.

Last month, a court in Nanterre ruled similarly in favour of Le Meridian Hotels. In that case, Google was given a €2000 fine, was ordered to pay costs, and an additional €150 per day for further infringements.

In similar cases in the US, courts have sided with the search company, saying that the practice is in line with competitive advertising, and breaks no federal laws.

Google generates around 98 per cent of its income by selling keyword-linked advertising, although not all of this is generated by competitor-linked searchers. ®

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