An interesting digging match is ongoing in London over the use of trademarks and Google adwords. The case was taken by Interflora against M&S over their used of the trademark name “Interflora” as a keyword in their adwords campaign (CPC of the keyword is €0.63 here).
The case even dragged Google in with Interflora looking to hit them in the suit as well. However the ruling stated that Google simply facilitated third parties and did not mean that Google itself was using the mark.
The court ruled that a third party could be liable
‘in the case where the ad does not enable the average internet user, or enables that user only with difficulty, to ascertain whether the goods and services referred to therein originate from the proprietor of the trademark or an undertaking economically connected with it or, on the contrary, originate from a third party’
So basically, if the ad misleads the viewer to thinking that they are in fact getting good for the trademark owner, when they are not, then it could be an infringement.
At this point the court hasn’t ruled as to whether M&S actually infringed the Interflora mark in this case, so the case will continue to rumble on.