Louis Vuitton in Google court battle

Stephen Beard Mar 23, 2010
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Louis Vuitton in Google court battle

Stephen Beard Mar 23, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Meanwhile, Google is in another battle — a legal one — over in Europe. A battle over brand names. The search engine was sued for trademark infringement by the luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton. But Europe’s top court today ruled in Google’s favor. Marketplace’s Europe correspondent, Stephen Beard, is with us live from London with the latest. Hi, Stephen.

Stephen Beard: Hello, Steve.

Chiotakis: Louis Vuitton makes purses and handbags. Why is that company mad at Google’s search engine?

Beard: This is all about Google’s AdWords service. You know how all this works — you put certain key words into the search box and it’ll bring up not only a list of links, but on the right hand side of the screen, some relevant advertising. Now the advertisers pay Google a fee for that. For example, you put in the word or the words “Louis Vuitton,” that’ll bring up ads about companies supplying Louis Vutton products. But the owner of Louis Vuitton objected to that — they say Google’s making money out of their brand and infringing their trademark. And they complain sometimes these advertisers are selling counterfeit products.

Chiotakis: But the Court of Justice in Europe just ruled that said Google isn’t violating those trademarks, right?

Beard: Yes. It was a preliminary ruling, but the court says that Google is not breaking E.U. trademark law. This must be a considerable relief, one imagines, for the company; Google won’t say how much cash it makes from the AdWords service, but it’s likely to be a substantial chunk of the $23 billion or so that it makes from advertising.

Chiotakis: You said preliminary ruling, is this is the end of the matter, Stephen?

Beard: No, this will now go to national courts across Europe. I think all we can say is, round one to Google.

Chiotakis: All right, Marketplace Europe Correspondent Stephen Beard reporting from London. Stephen, thanks.

Beard: OK, Steve.

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