French Courts Still Confused About How Google's Ad System Works

from the blaming-the-wrong-party dept

Apparently it's been a busy day for Google's lawyers. This is the third post of the day about totally unrelated lawsuits involving Google. In this one, a French appeals court ruled against Google, saying the company violated Louis Vuitton trademarks in ads sold on Google in France. We had covered this story when the lower court also made this decision, and it still seems like a bad decision. This case is a little different than other Adwords cases, like the Geico case. The issue is still a big brand-name company upset about Adwords being sold on their trademarked names. However, in this case, the advertisers were selling counterfeit Louis Vuitton products -- so you could make a clear case of potential customer confusion. However, the problem with the decision is that it places the blame on Google. Google is simply the open platform where the ads were placed. The fault here lies with the counterfeiter who is advertising on Google. Blaming Google is blaming the platform where the trademark violation occurred, not the actual trademark violator.
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  1. identicon
    Jessica, 28 Jun 2006 @ 11:01pm

    Bad precident

    If this is true, then anyone could start a fake company in france that buys anoymous adwords for another fake company snd sue google every day. There is no way they sould be held resposible for the posting, they can not check every ad. The person who placed the ad should be taken to court, not google.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Jessica, 28 Jun 2006 @ 11:41pm

    More coming

    From what I can gather is facing alot of lawsuits accoorss the globe for violating one thing or another. I wonder just how much it will cost them in the end a couple million or billions? ANd if they lost this one than you know more countries will be right behind.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Shohat, 28 Jun 2006 @ 11:45pm

    Makes Sence

    Courts are supposed to protect the public from counterfeit Louis Vuitton products . Just like google forbids people from advertising the sell of slaves or child porn , or kidneys , they should have a decent procedure for removing other illegal (and counterfeit Louis Vuitton products are illegal) material .

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Mike, 29 Jun 2006 @ 12:33am

    Off course not!

    Google had time to remove the ads after a warning from Louis Vuitton but they just did not do that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    JJ, 29 Jun 2006 @ 3:52am

    Rule Number 1:

    You're forgetting the number one rule of lawsuits: it doesn't matter who's right or who's wrong, you always go after the one with the most money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Jack Sombra, 29 Jun 2006 @ 4:02am

    Not as clear cut as some would make out

    Google cannot disavow all knowledge and control of advertisments on addwords. If some add "breaks the rules" and google are informed and don't pull it they should be held 100% liable
    TV channels/Radio/Newspaper or any other form of media would do the same or face the same consequences so why should google get a free pass? If they are providing a service they cannot manage properly then they need to stop providing it

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Just me, 29 Jun 2006 @ 6:16am


    Interesting case, I wonder if the rules of advertising will be upheld here.

    Also, since the fact Google did not drop the adds from their network, they should be held liable for the legal costs at the least.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    firemeg, 29 Jun 2006 @ 7:16am

    Google has to end this now...

    If Google gives in to this sort of thing, it will go the way of eBay. eBay caved into these suits and it impacted all sellers on the site. They should have stood strong and firm and maintained that the site was merely a venue and maybe went so far as to help with prosecution of the offenders. Instead they settled and now anything like this that happens results in a lawsuit that affects everyone that sells on the site, not just the criminals. (Actually nothing at all happens to the criminals).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    ROOGLE, 29 Jun 2006 @ 7:24am

    God Love the French

    Thank the french for another A+ Job. Let's all give it up for the frogs. très stupide

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Raekwon, 29 Jun 2006 @ 7:28am

    Dee Dee Dee

    Google is a World- Wide company, it is rediculous to assume that they are able to police the hundreds of millions of users that use thier service every day. Perhaps they dropped the ball on getting to this complaint in a timely manner, but this still is a flagrant law suit. Vuitton, I guess, needs more money for an extra pool boy and his diamond studded thong. I think I'm going to sue Microsoft for 50 billion because someone stole my CD Key.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    JoJo the Monkey boy, 29 Jun 2006 @ 7:32am


    Both eBay and Google profit when a counterfeit item is sold, be it an ad for a counterfeit product or the product itself. Since they are making money off these, they should be held at least 50% responsible. Google has a lot of foresight; they should have known this would happen especially after what happened to eBay. My guess is they did know it but the cost analysis said they shouldn't do any thing about it. If they make $100 million on ads for counterfeit items and they pay out $50 million to cover lawsuits, they still made $50 million. Sounds like a good plan to me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Michael, 29 Jun 2006 @ 8:00am

    fine print

    I havent read all of the posts, but from what I gather, Loui Vutton is suing Google for placing an add for fake Loui Vutton bags on the Loui Vutton website. If thats correct, surley Google has a contract with Loui Vutton for the adds on the Loui Vutton website, does that say anything about the content of the adds, if not, too bad Loui Vutton.

    To me, it seems that Loui Vutton is the one that doesnt understand how Google adds work, not the french court, OF COURSE its going to put adds that have to do with the content of their site. Granted, I dont know anything about the french system, but none of the blame should fall on google...

    Or the maker of the add for that matter, unless they used something copyrighted (in which case they should be sued no matter where the add appeared) then Loui Vutton has no business suing anybody for anything.

    Furthermore, WHAT IS A LUXURY COMPANY DOING WITH GOOGLE ADDS ON THEIR SITE?!?!?!?!?!?! You wouldnt find google adds on BMW's website, or sony's website, how un-professional. Then again, french wemon dont shave their legs...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Adam, 29 Jun 2006 @ 8:05am

    What is really happening.

    I think that people here are mistaking what probably happend here. Google probably didn't even get a formal complaint before they were taken to court. In this sea of lawsuits they are suffering from Vuitton probably just did a little search of google and found his counterfits and immediatly called the lawers in. I doubt that google, as large of a corp that they are, would ignore a formal complaint from someone that was standing on solid ground.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    JM, 29 Jun 2006 @ 10:58am

    Re: Makes Sence

    This makes no sense at all people.

    I'm going to put a bumper sticker on your car when you aren't looking offering illegal drugs at the corner pay phone. Then, when the government sues you for advertising illicit drugs I'll laugh.

    It's up to Google to TRY and remove inappropriate advertisements and material from there site but they should not be held legally liable for the illicit acts of another.

    Perhaps Google should have legal grounds to go after those who posted the content if they don't get any real justice from the ignorance of humanity.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Wolfger, 29 Jun 2006 @ 11:27am

    Does selling a fake Louis Voutton violate the law?

    If Yes, pursue the seller.
    If No, stop all pursuit.

    Suing a search engine for correctly placing an ad containing the words "Louis Voutton" when somebody does a search for same: stupid.
    To those who blame Google for not removing the ads: Google is not part of the legal system. If the seller is doing something illegal, it is up to the courts, not Google, to decide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Bastard, 29 Jun 2006 @ 11:56am

    Sorry, have to say it

    When are the french not confused about anything?

    It seems that every week the French government or individual is suing one thing or another. Its like they can't stand that something isn't working they way they want it to work.

    It seems to come from the culture of entitlement (and the strive to preserve a mono-culture) that the French people have, that its there way, or no way at all. If it can't work the way France wants it to work, ban it, sue it, or change it.

    It might be off topic here, but I am getting tired of hearing about the French Courts.

    That's why I call my chips Freedom Fries. Its the freedom from whining and complaining about everything non-French is what I hope for.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Mike Mixer, 29 Jun 2006 @ 12:34pm

    French lawyers

    Now I canwalk the streets of Paris without worrying about some gauche spitting on me because the french use american law now. It was only a matter of time before lawyers in these supposedly refined and adult european coutries started seeing how much their american counterparts are making and would want to join the circus. Yup, Americans are the bane of the earth ,but the lawyers that run the country have a good thing going so let's be just like them.
    Now instead of continental manners you get "let's do lunch". America is ruining the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Lay person, 29 Jun 2006 @ 1:12pm


    Look this has nothing to do with wrong or right.

    This is simply about the money. Google is big and vulnerable.
    They have lots of money, let's see if we can get some of it.

    The attorneys should be blamed as much as the counterfeiters.

    France sucks anyway so there's no point in trying to figure out their courts.

    Who would sue a newspaper for posting classifieds listing stolen property? It's clear that the stolen property issue is between the cops and the seller of those items.

    This is clearly nothing about anything but money, so please people lets quit chasing the red herrings.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Good guy, 29 Jun 2006 @ 1:31pm

    France is a thief

    France is the biggest thief of all the countries!

    French fries = fried potatoes

    French toast = egged bread

    French bread = Italian bread (only longer and narrower)

    I can go on but it seems to me the French take the most mundane items, if they like it, put the word French in front of it and voila (crap that's a French word)...O.K. how about presto! It's suddenly French!

    France is arrogant and really they have nothing to be arrogant about. Historically, they lost nearly all their major wars. They often needed help from others in times of crises, then they never appreciate what's done and claim that it's the power of France and the French people for their perserverence and persistence.

    Bullshit! It's about time the world sees France for what they are two-faced hypocrites.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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