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Google victorious in US trademark & German copyright cases

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Google scored a brace of legal wins in courts in Germany and the US yesterday, over two separate lawsuits brought against it.

The search giant won a trademark court case yesterday in the US against foreign language education firm Rosetta Stone, which brought a lawsuit against Google’s business practice of letting third parties buy permission to use other people's trademarks on AdWords.

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia threw out the suit on Thursday, Associated Press reports.

Rosetta Stone said it was “deeply disappointed” by the decision and plans to appeal once the company has reviewed the court’s written judgment.

Google’s senior litigation counsel Adam Barea told AP the company was happy with the ruling.

"Users searching on Google benefit from being able to choose from a variety of competing advertisers and we found no evidence that legitimate use of trademarks as keyword triggers or in the text of advertisements confuses consumers."

Meanwhile, Google was also celebrating in Germany yesterday, after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that Google Image Search, which the firm launched in 2003, does not violate copyright.

“We are heartened by the German Supreme Court's ruling today that Google Image Search does not infringe copyright,” said Mountain View on its blog.

According to Google, an artist brought the case against the company after she had uploaded photos of some large paintings she had created to her own website. She claimed that the thumbnails displayed via Google’s search results infringed copyright.

In October 2008 a German court ruled in her favour and said the Google thumbnails did violate the artist’s copyrights.

Google appealed the judgment and eventually took it all the way to Germany’s Supreme Court.

“Today’s ruling makes it clear not just for Google, its users in Germany and all owners of websites containing images, but also for all providers of image search services operating in the country: showing thumbnail images within search results is legitimate and millions of users in Germany benefit from being able to discover visual information at the click of a mouse,” said Google Germany’s managing counsel Dr Arnd Haller.

“We still have to wait for the full reasoning behind the decision. What we know today: thousands of websites and companies in Germany will be able to benefit from Google Image Search in the future as well." ®

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