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