Google has successfully defended its right to sell adverts against any search term, regardless of trademark. The landmark case in the European court means it could sell a sponsored link to Apple, for example, if you searched for a keyword such as HP or Sony.
"We believe that user interest is best served by maximizing the choice of keywords, ensuring relevant and informative advertising for a wide variety of different contexts," Google said in a post on its blog. "For instance, if a user is searching for information about a particular car, he or she will want more than just that car's Web site."
The case was brought to the European Court of Justice by Louis Vuitton Moet & Chandon, the luxury luggage and fizzy-pop merchant. It handbagged Google with the accusation that the search behemoth was selling ads against its brands to companies that were discount resellers or even counterfeiters. Google strenuously denied that.
"We have strict policies that forbid the advertising of counterfeit goods; it's a bad user experience," said Harjinder S Obhi, Google's senior European litigation counsel. "We work collaboratively with brand owners to better identify and deal with counterfeiters."
Do you think Google is right? Is an alternative to your search sometimes more useful? Or should brands have the exclusive right to their trademark? Let us know in the comments section.