Links & Law - Information about legal aspects of search engines, linking and framing

Hyperlink & Search Engine Law News  Decisions & Court Documents Worldwide Legal Resources (Hyperlink & Search Engine Law Articles) Linking Law Cases Search Engine Law Publications by Dr. Stephan Ott Technical    Background

Update 27: February 5, 2005

1. Google looses AdWords lawsuit in France, again…


According to a Nanterre court ruling Google must stop linking competitor ads to searches for Le Meridian trademark items and Le Meridian brands. If Google fails to remove offending ad links within 72 hours of being notified of a listing, it will face a daily fine of €150 ($195). Google said it will appeal the decision.

In France Louis Vuitton has also successfully sued Google for trademark infringement, while in the USA a court ruled that Google's adword sales of trademarked protected terms does not violate trademark laws (Geico case). For an overview over AdWord lawsuits see the "AdWords - Pending Lawsuits" section.


  • January 21, 2005: French court says Non! to Google's adwords, The Register:
    ”A French court has ruled that Google's keyword advertising service infringes on the trademark of Le Meridian Hotels, and has ordered the company to stop using the trademark to trigger advertisements for Le Meridian's competitors.”

  • January 21, 2005: Olsen, Stefanie / Kaufmann, Joachim, Google verliert Prozess um Markenrechte, ZDNet:
    Für das Adwords-Programm des Suchmaschinenanbieters Google ziehen dunkle Wolken am Himmel auf: Ein französisches Gericht hat letzten Monat entschieden, dass die Nutzung des Markennamens der Hotelkette "Le Meridian" die Rechte des Unternehmens verletzt.“

  • January 21, 2005: Google verliert Rechtsstreit in Frankreich, Heise:
    “Nach einem Urteil eines Gerichtes in Nanterre darf Google keine eingetragenen Markennamen der Hotelkette Le Meridian als Schlüsselwörter für Werbung anbieten.“




2. And Overture wasn't lucky, either...


A similar judgment by the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Nanterre was issued on 17 January 2005: Overture has been held legally liable because the judge considered Overture's ad booking tool also encouraged advertisers to chose keywords that were trade marks belonging to Accor. Overture was ordered to pay damages of 200 000 euros and to publish the judgment on its website.


  • January 27, 2005: Marken-Trigger auch für Overture verboten,

    Das Tribunalgericht im französischen Nanterre übt sich in einer Art ausgleichender Gerechtigkeit. Nachdem gerade erst Google verurteilt wurde, muss jetzt auch der Konkurrent Overture eine Niederlage einstecken.


3. Computer student billed $15,900 over illegal hyperlinks in Norway


Norway's supreme court ruled that a student whose homepage was linked to free Internet music files must compensate the music industry. The around 170 links to mp3s will cost its creator $15,900. In a summary of its ruling, the supreme court said the music was clearly published in violation of copyright law. Links & Law has already reported about the case (see Update 26). The lawyer representing the defendant commented on the decision as follows:

"The disputed deeplinking to illegal uploaded mp3-files on the Internet caused (note: with reference from the Norwegian Supreme Court to the German Supreme Court in the Paperboy-verdict from 2003) no separate infringement of the copyright owners right to communicate the work to the public. However, the disputed deeplinking was considered as assistance to (illegal) communication to the public. Therefore, the defendant was sentenced to pay NOK 100.000 in compensation to the plaintiffs. But, the defendant was not ordered to pay costs. Consensus: From now on, current law here in Scandinavia is as follows: Regardig to copyright law, deeplinking to legal internet files is legitimate. Interpretation of consent is not necessary. But, deeplinking to evidently illegal internet files can be considered as assistance to breach of copyright law. Simultaneously, deeplinking to illegate internet files can be considered as unfair competition regarding to the general clauses in the Scandinavian Competition laws."


Text of the Decision (Norwegian). English translation coming soon!


The Links & Law article on the case has been mentioned on several other news websites, e.g.:


4. How searchers feel about issues related to paid and unpaid search results


The latest report from the Pew Internet & American Life Project shows that Internet search engine users are naive when it comes to the objectivity and use of search engines. The survey found that 84% of online American adults have used search engines. That amounts to 108 million people. On any given day, 56% of those online use search engines. 87% of online searchers say they have successful search experiences most of the time, including 17% of users who say they always find the information for which they are looking.

Most search-engine users are unaware of the distinction between paid and unpaid results.

38% of those who have used a search engine are aware that there are two different kinds of search results, some that are paid or sponsored and some that are not. The remaining 62% are not aware of this practice. Among the 38% of internet users who are aware of the practice, some 47% of searchers say they can always tell which results are paid or sponsored and which are not. So only one in six internet searchers can consistently distinguish between paid and unpaid search results.


For more information see:


New in Legal Resources:

  • Heydn, Truiken, Deep Link: Feuerprobe bestanden - Das Aus für den Schutz von Web Content oder die Rettung des World Wide Web?, NJW 2004, 1361-1363



New in Decisions:

  • VG Berlin,  Decision of November 1, 2004, Az VG 2 A 113/04




The Links & Law website is updated regularily, so  check back for updated information and resources about search engine and linking issues.

You are currently in the archive with older news. A complete list of the updates can be found here!

Latest News - Update 71

Legal trouble for YouTube in Germany

Germany: Employer may google job applicant

EU: Consultation on the E-Commerce-Directive

WIPO Paper on tradmarks and the internet

The ECJ and the AdWords Cases



Masthead/Curriculum Vitae
Copyright © 2002-2008 Dr. Stephan Ott 

All Rights Reserved.