Trademark Hijackings, Part Deux

Internet Sales

On 22nd September 2011 the Court of Justice of the EU reached its long awaited decision in the Interflora v Marks & Spencer case. Interflora sued M&S for buying “Interflora-themed” Google Adwords (see previous blog entry entitled “Trademark Hijackings” on the use of Trade Marks as Search/Adwords terms) such that when customers searched “interflora” they would bring up M&S as well as Interflora sites.

The question is whether this breaches a Trade Mark?

The Court reiterated the need for balance between the protection afforded to TMs with a reputation and fair competition in the sector for the goods and services for which such marks are registered. It has held that this is not necessarily a breach of TM as it depends on whether customers are confused and follows an earlier decision in Google.

An article on the case is at:

http://bit.ly/qQZceY

The CJEU press release on the decision is at http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2011-09/cp110097en.pdf

Actions:

  • Check (1) your use of Adwords within your business and (2) Adwords uses by any third party agencies working on your behalf, who should be aware of the legal issues
  • Take advice on whether your use or use by others infringes TMs
If you require legal assistance in TM or IP issues, please don’t hesitate to contact us on the above numbers or info@gadllp.co.uk.