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French Court Orders Google to Stop Competing Ad Displays 630

charleste writes "NPR is reporting that a French court has ordered Google to stop displaying ads when users search for competitors (e.g. if you search for Louis Vuitton, no more ads for Dior). If this holds up, wouldn't this affect most business models for free web tools?" CNET also has details , and information about previous cases.
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French Court Orders Google to Stop Competing Ad Displays

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:51PM (#11631483)
  • And who (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JPelorat ( 5320 ) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:52PM (#11631507)
    Is going to determine and keep track of which companies are competitors? How the hell is anyone supposed to do that for every single company in existence?
    • Re:And who (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cybersaga ( 451046 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:55PM (#11631554) Homepage
      The government doesn't enforce it. They just wait for someone to sue. It's like every other law.
      • Re:And who (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mzwaterski ( 802371 )
        The government doesn't enforce it. They just wait for someone to sue. It's like every other law.

        Maybe you just weren't clear with what you were saying, but trademark law is not like EVERY other law. Take for example any criminal law. Whereas trademark matters are almost entirely civil matters (person A sues person B), criminal law is, well, criminal (Gov't/State vs. person B). Its a really big difference.

        • Re:And who (Score:3, Insightful)

          True, and don't forget that the government can go after you in civil court (an alternative to criminal prosecution are certain kinds of fines).

          In the US, the government relies on private parties to enforce many of its laws ("exporting enforcement" in legal buzz ). This is (partly) why the US has a 'plaintiff friendly' court system that doesn't punish you for an unsuccessful suit (compare to the UK, where the losing party pays lawyer fees). The theory goes that by leaving it to private parties, those who a

    • It might be better for Google to just block the disputed domain altogether. It's easier.

    • That's a self-solving problem, actually... it's the PAID advertising that's the issue, I believe. For instance, one of my company's competitors pays to have their product show up if someone searches for our company name... if it were in fact illegal to buy search terms that included another company's trademarks, then WE would be the ones to report it...all the courts would have to do is respond to complaints - same way it works now.

      Unfortunately, Google won a similar case in the US, so our competitors can
      • by arkanes ( 521690 ) <arkanes.gmail@com> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:08PM (#11631775) Homepage
        I don't see whats unethical about this practice. It's called competition - it's not like they're picketing your business or something, they're creating a way for them to gain equal time in customer mindshare. More importantly, you're still ahead, because they're searching for *your* name, but your competitor has to pay to get his name out there. Trademark creep is just as annoying as all the other kinds of creep out there - it's supposed to ensure that you can do business under your mark without the risk of someone else masquerading as you. That's all, it's not supposed to be some sort of stick you can use to beat away competition.
        • by jadavis ( 473492 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @04:30PM (#11634395)
          To play devil's advocate:

          Company A starts selling a gadget that nobody knows about. It starts an expensive marketing campaign to show how it helps an average person in everyday life. People didn't know the product existed before, but are now very interested in the product.

          Then they search for your creative, trademarked company name in google. Then they see an ad for company B (which cost company B $0.25). Company B is a factory outlet who has no marketing budget. The price from company B is half the price from company A because company A must recoup its marketing costs. Now the consumer buys from company B.

          In this case it doesn't seem fair. Although the alternative (laws controlling advertising more) might be much worse.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Unethical = wrong.

        Unethical != illegal.

        Much like it is unethical to sleep with a subordinate (or superior) coworker, but it is not (or should not be) illegal.
        • Until that relationship leads to a contract being awarded to someone inappropriately (for example). Then it becomes potentially illegal.

          Unethical actions are inappropriate until they result in someone else being harmed. At that point, they often become illegal, depending on the nature of the action, the harm, and whether the harmed person/company decides to press charges.

      • Well, you're free to buy the search terms for your own company's name and your competitor's name as well, so I don't see the problem, even if I can certainly understand the annoyance. It creates the potential for a bidding war where none existed before.

        I wonder if this means that OSDL or someone could sue in France to have MS not pay for the 'Linux' search term. MS are currently doing that in Italy (look at the ads on the right, and maybe click on it to transfer a few cents from Microsoft to Google:-)

        h [google.it]
      • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:39PM (#11632231) Journal
        all the courts would have to do is respond to complaints - same way it works now.

        At how many tens of thousands of dollars per complaint?

        a bit unethical.

        Ethical or not, its a near-impossible problem. Google would have to maintain a massive database of every potential competitor for every possible keyword. And then, if I search for "Anderson", whose ads are forbidden from showing up? Does the user want Anderson Accounting? Anderson Computers? Anderson Farms? Anderson Law Firm? Anderson & Samuel Law Firm? Anderson Anderson Anderson & Sons Law firm? You can bet if the wrong law firm showed up, they'd all be lined up to sue.
    • Re:And who (Score:2, Insightful)

      by saider ( 177166 )
      Is going to determine and keep track of which companies are competitors? How the hell is anyone supposed to do that for every single company in existence?

      The company taking the orders. Remember this is a trademark issue and another company paid Google to serve up ads on a trademark that was not theirs.

      This will end up as a legal phrase in the contract on the lines of "all the adwords that you are requesting are not trademarked by other companies in your industry". And I'm sure the fine folks at google wi
      • Re:And who (Score:3, Insightful)

        by arkanes ( 521690 )
        I think it is unreasonble, because it essentially makes Google liable for litigating trademark claims. Remember that trademarks are only within a certain market, but that the scope of that market can vary considerably depending on the court and the company involved - you aren't going to get away with marketing a Coca-Cola anything, but a Compaq washing maching is much more reasonable. Does BMW compete with Hitachi? I don't know. Do you? How about IBM? And, more likely, who does Anderson Computing compete wi
      • Re:And who (Score:5, Insightful)

        by null etc. ( 524767 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:27PM (#11632051)
        This is not suprising or unreasonable.

        In which world do you live?

        I find this highly unreasonable. Right now, it is permissible for Company A to advertise its products on a huge billboard right in front of Company B's building. Are you suggesting this practice be banned too?

        A magazine has an article about Microsoft security. On the adjoining page is a full page advertisement for Red Hat Linux. Should that practice be banned too? Because that's done in nearly every major magazine.

        Extend this theory a little farther. A user enters a search for "Mustang", and gets back a link to a website. The user clicks the website, and sees information and advertising regarding both Mustangs and Chevrolets. Is that permissible?

        A trademark is just that - a mark under which a company performs trade. A company that owns a trademark is only entitled to protection that guarantees that no other company sells similar products or services under the same trademark.

        I fail to see how this protection entitles the obstruction of a competitive free market, just to protect some company who can't compete on other fronts.

    • I agree with your point entirely.

      That said - this is GOOGLE man. I daresay they could easily staff a small department of people who just sit there all day and GOOGLE for adwords before they're purchased and determine if they are trademarked / competitors / etc.

      *THAT* said - we just proved it's a nonissue. They could only reasonably search so much, and any search so limited would likely only rely on trademarks/etc. If you're buying adwords with a trademarked name, it's your own problem - as well it shou
    • Re:And who (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gowen ( 141411 )
      You don't have to. You just stop companies buying keywords that are other people's trademarks. And you don't even have to enforce that -- just reserve the right to unilaterally cancel the contract in the case of a rival pointing out that this has been done.

      Easy peasy.
    • Re:And who (Score:3, Insightful)

      by leoboiko ( 462141 )
      I'm sorry, but your Linux company has been demeed a competitor by Microsoft. Now when your users search "microsoft samba incompatibility" they won't be able to find that useful error description in the help forum.
  • by jolyonr ( 560227 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:53PM (#11631527) Homepage
    The whole point of the judgement is that Dior (or any other company) couldn't buy adwords on Google targetting the search term 'Louis Vutton' or vice versa. Nothing to do with web tools or other such nonsenese. RTFJ!

    Jolyon
  • No jurisdiction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ee_moss ( 635165 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:54PM (#11631530)
    How would France have the jurisdiction to affect the way an American company operates?
    • Re:No jurisdiction (Score:2, Informative)

      by DanBrusca ( 197887 )
      As far as that company is operating in France, the French courts do have jurisdiction.
    • Re:No jurisdiction (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Singletoned ( 619322 ) <singletoned@gmail.com> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:59PM (#11631624) Homepage
      How would France have the jurisdiction to affect the way an American company operates?

      I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that the law will apply to Google's French subsidiary, Google.fr, rather than Google.com.

      • Re:No jurisdiction (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Not_Wiggins ( 686627 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:06PM (#11631733) Journal
        I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and suggest that the law will apply to Google's French subsidiary, Google.fr, rather than Google.com.

        While at first blush that might sound reasonable, it really doesn't have anything to do with jurisdiction.

        For example, so long as Google's servers are hosted in the US, the only thing France could do is block their country from accessing Google's servers, and that isn't going to happen.

        No, I think another well-informed reader hit it on the head: it would make sense to have a policy in place about competitors buying ad words that are the name of the competing company. But the only way that would work is to have the companies themselves police it (ie, do searches and see if someone else is potentially infringing with paid ads).

        At that point it could be brought up in court, but it wouldn't need to involve Google at all; company A can just sue company B saying they're abusing copyrighted names yadda, yadda, yadda.
        • Re:No jurisdiction (Score:3, Informative)

          by mikael ( 484 )
          From what I see happening on my web-browser, no matter when I try and access google.com, I immediately get relocated to google.co.uk (Thank you Google, if I wanted google.co.uk I would type google.co.uk, and not google.com).

          Presumably, anyone in France typing in google.com, will get google.fr, thus allowing Google to implement regional policies.
    • by Rakshasa Taisab ( 244699 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:59PM (#11631635) Homepage
      Actually they don't and this won't affect google at all. Google is after all one of the elite companies under the protection of America, World Police.
    • Jurisdiction is all about enforcement, really. And I sincerely doubt that Google will topple to the severe taunting of the French [imdb.com]. I mean...what are they going to do? Back out of the conflict at the last minute? Join the Nazis? What?
    • Re:No jurisdiction (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:07PM (#11631755) Homepage
      There is a precedent for this- Yahoo was ordered by a French court to ban Nazi memorabilia from their auctions. These decisions only affect users within the jurisdiction of the law, so only users who can be verified as being in France will not see ads for competitors.
  • Amazon... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:54PM (#11631531)
    So does that mean Amazon shouldn't be showing what other books people who searched for a certain one also bought? They might be costing a sale of the original book if the add shows a book with similar content they chose instead if it.
  • This will fly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spidergoat2 ( 715962 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:54PM (#11631540) Journal
    Till they figure out that someone typing 'Goodyear' won't be able to see a 'Michelin' ad....
  • Hmm.... (Score:4, Funny)

    by Misch ( 158807 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:54PM (#11631542) Homepage
    Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence. Pete fell off. Who was left?

    Repeat! [slashdot.org]
  • Ruling only for LVMH (Score:4, Informative)

    by slashkitty ( 21637 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:54PM (#11631553) Homepage
    "The court ordered Google to stop displaying ads for competitors of Louis Vuitton" Don't worry, Google can still advertise competitors of other products.
  • by parvenu74 ( 310712 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:55PM (#11631556)
    Oddly enough, when I did a Google search for "French Riviera" I was offered ads for vacationing in Italy and Spain... touche!
  • Give me a break! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:56PM (#11631572)
    Both lawsuits have hinged on Google's signature keyword-advertising system, Adwords, which pairs text ads with related search results. For example, a Nike ad appears after a search for running shoes. Through the system, Google allows marketers to bid for such search-related keywords, including common branded and trademarked terms.

    Louis Vuitton applauded the ruling, highlighting the danger that some sponsored search results tied to its name can promote counterfeits. "It was absolutely unthinkable that a company like Google be authorized, in the scope of its advertising business, to sell the Louis Vuitton trademark to third parties, specifically to Web sites selling counterfeits," a company representative said in a statement via e-mail.


    So Google was allowing other companies to bid on extremely vague search terms that display ads for companies related and somehow Vuitton thinks thats dangerous?

    Give me a break. Make your product superior to the others and people will see the alternative and buy yours. I'm sorry if the "counterfeits" will end up beating you out. Maybe yours isn't worth 100x as much as theirs just because of your name.

    Personally I don't even see the ads. They are there but they are in the corner of my eye. I have certainly never clicked on one and I don't know of anyone who has. Get over it.
  • French courts ruled against Yahoo!, and Yahoo! told them to shove it. The U.S. also gave Yahoo! the green light. It is quite ridiculous for the French to stifle competition. If people do not like it, they do not have to use Google. I do not hear many people, besides the French gov't. complaining. Do the French people, themselves, feel this way?
  • Geographical laws? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 )
    What does French authority have over Google? What if Zimbabwe issued an order that Google do something? Or what about my grandmother? If Google doesn't comply, what authority does France have to sanction Google?
    • Before you get all huffty and high and mighty, please remember that there are Canadians dealing with problems in the United States stemming from the fact that while in Canada they did business with Cuba, and america seems to think that its anti-Castro laws extend beyond its borders into Canada.

      That being said, yeah the French think they have the authority over everyone. The Quebecers are the same way. It was funny, them demanding that Pokemon produce French only versions, etc.

      • "and america seems to think that its anti-Castro laws extend beyond its borders into Canada"

        And if I broke the law while in Canada, wouldn't the Canadian government claim jurisdiction? Of course. If the crime were serious enough, they would extradite me and prosecute me.

        But because it's the US, it's ok for Canadians to say shitty things about us. Sorry, but your government does the same thing, as do most governments around the world.
    • If a French company transacts business in the United States, they can expect to be hauled to United States courts. The reverse is true as well.
  • This is idiotic (Score:3, Interesting)

    by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy.tpno-co@org> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:57PM (#11631601) Homepage
    This is moronic. Who's to say who's a competitor? Doesn't this invite all sorts of abuse by corporations who lack morals ( ie: all of them )?

    *rubs temples*

    I understand this is a "new" technology, and I appreciate how much catch up judges have to make effective rulings, but this indicates to me that they don't grasp how things work.

    Maybe the court transcripts reveal more than the simple blurb. Perhaps there's simply more to this than the article suggests.
    • Well, in the meantime, I suggest you make sure you only pay for ads for keyword searches that have nothing to do with your company, because they might be searching for a competitor with any relavent terms.

      So from now on, if you sell 'ketchup', you should only buy ads for keyword searches such as "hang gliding".

    • Re:This is idiotic (Score:5, Informative)

      by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:11PM (#11631819)
      This is moronic. Who's to say who's a competitor?

      No, it's not about "competitors", it's about "trademarks". So it's very simple, the French court basically says ads (not searches) can't be targetted at trademarks of another company. So other luggage makers (and especially, those cloning Vuitton) can't pay for their ads to come up on a search for Vuitton. (Though they might turn up in the search results.)

      • Re:This is idiotic (Score:5, Insightful)

        by dabraun ( 626287 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:31PM (#11632126)
        Except that as a consumer / web searcher when I search for "Louis Vuitton" (not that I have ever even heard of that brand) I *want* to see everything about it and everything like it.

        Seeing ads that are for direct and relevant competitors when searching for a trademarked term makes web searches more useful. Ok, perhaps the trademark holder should always get the first result - but preventing me from seeing competitor's adds ... is just lame.

        Next thing you know they are going to prevent sites that are critical of a brand from buying search terms - i.e. say some site has important dirt on Nike regarding child labor allegations - is it going to be illegal for that site to buy an adword to show up when someone searches for Nike?

        Lame.
  • So... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by fmobus ( 831767 )
    Will it be illegal for M$ to push "how to migrate from linux to windows" in their sponsored results @ msn search?
  • by anandpur ( 303114 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @12:59PM (#11631619)
    February 13, 2004

    Google bans ads that criticize cruise ships
    By MICHAEL LIEDTKE
    THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    SAN FRANCISCO - Online search engine leader Google has banned the ads of an environmental group protesting a major cruise line's sewage treatment methods, casting a spotlight on the editorial policies that control the popular Web site's lucrative marketing program.

    Jim Ayers, Pacific Region director for Oceana, said from his Juneau home that he was shocked that Google would censor his group's ads based on corporate bias.

    Washington D.C.-based Oceana said Google dropped the text-based ads displayed in shaded boxes along the right side of its Web page because they were critical of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

    http://juneauempire.com/stories/021304/sta_googl e. shtml
  • While I am a major fan of all the amazing work Google has done and relesed for the web. I can't help feel that this ruling is correct. I understand that it could have serious impact on Google and their bottomline but it seems like its the right thing.

    Trademarks are in place to protect the consumer. Not the trademark holder. They prevent some fly-by-night company from stamping their stuff with a brandname and selling it. Levi's jeans are a brandname and cheap knockoffs can not carry the Levi's name.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:01PM (#11631651) Homepage Journal
    Is fine with me.
  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot ( 848674 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:01PM (#11631667)
    Let Google completely remove the listing for Louis Vuitton or any other company that sued them from their search engine. Or, for that matter, all the websites of the French government, or even every .fr domain. After all, it's a private company, not a public utility. Despite that, they've become so ubiqitous that I suspect both France and the company's suing them would change their tune rather quickly...

    Crow T. Trollbot

  • well.. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SolusSD ( 680489 )
    it would put an end to those annoying Windows is better than Linux ads that come up everytime I use google to search for Linux help. wait a minute.. isn't this like making it illegal to have any competing product next to what your looking for? stores arranged by brand anyone?
  • by Quattro Vezina ( 714892 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:03PM (#11631691) Journal
    There's no reason why Google should have to take this kind of abuse.

    They should shut down google.fr (but keep control of the domain name so no one takes it over), and maybe even block French IPs from accessing the rest of Google.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:04PM (#11631699) Homepage Journal
    Google doesn't have to stop returning search results of competitor's pages that mention the brand requested by the searches. They just have to stop returning ads purchased by those competitors when the brand is requested. This isn't so surprising: we'd be scandalized if you could just pay Google to return your website among the search results for your competitor. So the paid placement is separated into ads. But we'd also be suspicious if we asked a vendor of both Coke and Pepsi for a "Coke", and they offered us Pepsi instead, or even brought it up as an alternative in the transaction - even though they're entirely free to promote whichever product they stock. The entire issue is whether Google is diluting the association of the brand's unique mark by delivering its competitors with the same association. I'm not sure that just prohibiting mention in even clear ads is the answer. Maybe just returning an ad for the requested brand, prioritized among associated competitors who've purchased placement in clearly marked advertising separate from "non-ad" results. But as consumers, this ruling protects us from "you ask for this, and they give you that" bait & switch.
  • The correct response (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:04PM (#11631700) Homepage

    "Since Google's normal ad service has been declared illegal in France, Google will cease such activities in France. The most technically feasible method of doing this is to make Google's service inaccessible from all IP netblocks assigned to the geographic area of France and any entities based in France who, were they to access Google, would do so under the aegis of French law. In addition we will no longer be accepting ad placement from companies where the transaction would be governed by French law."

  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:04PM (#11631709)
    If I go to a store and ask for "Louis Vuitton" is it trademark infringement if the sales person also shows me Dior or some other maker's products? I would argue that as long as Google's ads do not mislead the user into thinking that the link is for "Louis Vuitton" then it is no different than a store clerk showing me a competing good.

    All Google is doing is recognizing that people use specific terms to represent generic actions. I may search for "Louis Vuitton" but really intend to look at luxury goods of a wide range of makers -- the trademark name is only being used to find hits in the category. As long as the ads don't pretend to offer something they don't (bait and switch), I would argue that Google is serving the purpose of search.
    • No, this is like an ad for Dior being placed next to a Vuitton display.

      Here's a true story. I posted this in another article, but I'll post it here for posterity: a few miles from where I live, there's a Ford (or Toyota, I can't remember which) dealership. Right next to it is a billboard advertising another Ford (again, or Toyota) dealership, with the text "Drive a few extra miles and save". It's the same exact type of thing as the situation with Google--this sign even plays on the fact that it's right nex
    • You're missing the point.

      Let's suppose that you are Louis Vuitton. You've spent a lot of years and a lot of money building up your brand name. So now, someone is *PAYING* the sales person in that store to show customers products by Dior everytime they ask to see your products. If you were Louis Vuitton you would not be happy about that.

      And to claim that people searching for 'Louis Vuitton' are merely doing a generic search for 'luxury good' is just plain stupid. If I search for 'Louis Vuitton' then I
      • So now, someone is *PAYING* the sales person in that store to show customers products by Dior everytime they ask to see your products. If you were Louis Vuitton you would not be happy about that.

        This is no different than the practice of spiffs or push money to motivate the sales force to sell a particular product. I agree that it is not pleasant for the maker (and may be unethical toward the consumer), but paying the retailer for favored position, promotion, etc. is widespread.

        If I search for 'Louis
      • If you were Louis Vuitton you would not be happy about that.

        You certainly would be unhappy. But it doesn't follow that the government should outlaw it just to make you happy.

        And to claim that people searching for 'Louis Vuitton' are merely doing a generic search for 'luxury good' is just plain stupid. If I search for 'Louis Vuitton' then I only want to see search results for Louis Vuitton. To display anything else is unethical.

        By your logic, then, all search engine advertisements are unethical. P

      • Let's suppose that you are Louis Vuitton. You've spent a lot of years and a lot of money building up your brand name. So now, someone is *PAYING* the sales person in that store to show customers products by Dior everytime they ask to see your products. If you were Louis Vuitton you would not be happy about that.

        I walk into a restraunt and order a Coke. The waitress offers me a Pepsi. Coke has "spent a lot of years and a lot of money building up its brand name", and "someone is *PAYING*" the waitress to

  • ideas, products, places to visit ...

    Not that everyone has the same opportunities, due to lumpiness in the space time continuum, conspiracies run by the Illuminati, the oppression of the proletariat by evil oppressors etc, but for those opportunies each person [outside a survival-only situation] *does* have, there are -- for practical purposes -- an infinite number of possibilities, different ways for them to expend their life energy.

    Buy an iPod? Hey, that sounds good! One day I might.

    Join a monastery? Hm
  • sucks (Score:2, Insightful)

    by t_pet422 ( 613073 )
    Man, that sucks. Sometimes I search on Google for a brand name specifically so that I can learn about possible competitors from the ads. I think these ads helps me be a better consumer. I hope they don't go away.
  • Travesty (Score:3, Interesting)

    by visionsofmcskill ( 556169 ) <vision AT getmp DOT com> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:17PM (#11631914) Homepage Journal
    This is a terrible decision with far reaching implications. It is increasingly apparent that users and even service companies have no rights whatsoever in regards to free exchange of information, even if it is competitive information.


    Here is my main issue with this judgement.


    I, as a consumer frequently SERACH FOR competitors of known brands. Often i am looking to see what the market is because i am dis-satisfied with the brand i am familiar with. Putting in search terms such as "geico competitors" you will not get any relevant listings.


    I found the most effective means of finding other product offerings in a related market is by simply looking through the ad placements on google when searching simply for the brand name i recognize.


    By ordering google to stop disaplying compeitotrs ads, they have effectivly denied me any solid capability to find out about what competing products there are in the marketplace, hence hindering compitition, and promoting monopolistic control.


    It is a terrible day when trademark protection extends as far as information services. Will they make it illegal to place ads for comepting companies next to each other in newspapers? Will they make it illegal to place gap ads next to macys ads on Television?


    This is a ridulous abuse of governance that only hinders the tax-paying public, and stifles economic growth through compitiion, as well as inovation amogst service providers.


    Amazing. Whats next.... patents on 1's and 0's ??!!

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:17PM (#11631923)
    This just in - a French court has ordered Google to stop displaying the text "We Surrender!" in large flashing letters whenever a user types in the search terms "Germany" and "France".
  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:46PM (#11632337) Homepage
    lets say your searching for "rackspace" hosting. you type "rack space" into goole. The first two ads that pop up are titled "rack space" , but they link to someother site selling solutions (the url is listed in small type under the link).

    So basically companies are createing links with names that are incorrect in ads. I think thats where the problem is, if the name of your company is trademarked. I could put a "ford" link that links to chevy.com and that is very deceptive.

    buyer beware.

    I leave it to the courts to figure out if it illegal.

  • by mintech ( 93916 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:46PM (#11632349)
    I think Louis Vuitton should not be suing Google, instead, it should be suing the companies who post the adwords that violate trademarks. For example, if Dior decides to have an advertisement appear when someone searches for "Louis Vuitton" then perhaps Louis Vuitton should sue Dior for infringing on their trademark.

    If Dior put a full-page ad in New York Times encouraging people to buy Dior instead of Louis Vuitton, does that mean that the New York Times is responsible for violating the trademark, or would it be Dior?
  • by delmoi ( 26744 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @01:50PM (#11632402) Homepage
    1) block French people from using Google, blame government
    2) Wait for people to overthrow said government
    3) sell advertising indiscriminately, and profit.
  • fudge the french (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MoFoQ ( 584566 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @02:14PM (#11632724)
    The French courts seems to have the wrong impression that it has absolute jurisdiction over anything and everything on the net. Just like the Yahoo/Ebay/Nazi paraphernalia issue.
    They especially don't have jurisdiction if Google does not have any legal business presence in France and they can't really do much to Google otherwise if Google were to refuse (provided Google has no future plans of opening up offices in France). The French don't censor the internet and since they don't have legal presence in France, it's a bit hard to fine them and expect payment. Plus the US courts are probably not going to help the French courts if Bush has anything to say about it, since I'm sure he holds a grudge against the French.

    Man...all this reminds me of that one Halloween ep of the Simpsons. "AHAHAHAHA! No no no, in francias...OHOHOHOHOHOH"
  • by jpellino ( 202698 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @02:36PM (#11633003)
    This is the basic mode for opening new stores for these two chains - find out where a reasonably well run drug store or bake shop is with plenty of traffic, then open up a block away. Usually buries the competitor in a matter of months. Perfectly legal.
  • by Vann_v2 ( 213760 ) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @04:13PM (#11634184) Homepage
    I just checked. If you search google.fr for "Louis Vuitton" no ads are shown, while both google.com and google.co.uk display some ads.

    So it seems google is complying with the court order using google.fr. It could be the case that nobody bought "Louis Vuitton" ads at google.fr, but that seems particularly unlikely as Louis Vuitton itself is a French company.

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