M&S lose Google Adwords infringement case to Interflora
Yesterday the High Court of England and Wales ruled in favour of Interflora by concluding Marks & Spencers have been breaching trademark infringement laws by bidding to advertise next to searches for ‘Interflora’.
In 2008 Interflora found M&S using their brand name in an ad to promote their flower and delivery service. High Court representative Justice Arnold said that the M&S ads in question didn’t enable well-informed and reasonably attentive internet users to ascertain whether the service referred to in the ads originated from M&S or Interflora.
“On the contrary, as at 6 May 2008, a significant proportion of the consumers who searched for ‘interflora’ and the other signs, and then clicked on M&S’s advertisements displayed in response to those searches, were led to believe, incorrectly, that M&S’s flower delivery service was part of the Interflora network.”
M&S still have to right to appeal but it’s looking like they will have to pay a hefty amount in damages and costs – the amount will be decided at a later date when both companies will again be summoned to court.
This does not mean though that brands can’t bid on keywords of rival names!