SpicyIP Tidbit: Madras High Court vacates ex-parte interim injunction against Google’s ad-word program

In an interesting development in the Google Adwords dispute Medianama has reported that the Madras High Court has vacated its earlier ex-parte ad-interim injunction restraining Google from infringing Consim’s trademark. The ex-parte Order against Google had been passed in late September and had ordered Google to stop using the Consim trademark in either its Keyword suggestion tool or the Adwords program.

We had posted on this issue earlier over here.

Another website has quoted Google’s lawyer – Mr. Poovayya – as saying The order vacating the earlier stay essentially reinstates the position to before Consim filing the suit.” Merely using a trademark in a search-word or a key-word does not violate the trademarks act. One is not passing off his product as that of another. You are only ensuring that the consumer has a wider choice,” he argues.

In other news Google scored an important victory in the E.U. when the Advocate General’s office in a non-binding opinion advised the European Court of Justice that Google should be allowed to sell trademarked keywords. This is an especially important victory for Google because it has suffered several reversals in Europe especially at the hands of Louis Vutton.

Earlier this year in the United States of America, Google’s Ad-word program suffered a legal setback when the a three judge panel of the Second Circuit overturned a lower court judgement which dismissed claims of trademark infringement against the Ad-Words program. The matter was thus remanded to the lower court where it is now pending trial.

The main issue in this proceeding is whether Google is ‘using’ registered trademarks as understood by the Lanham Act.

It would be interesting to observe whether the Indian litigation takes the same route.
Prashant Reddy

Prashant Reddy

T. Prashant Reddy graduated from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, with a B.A.LLB (Hons.) degree in 2008. He later graduated with a LLM degree (Law, Science & Technology) from the Stanford Law School in 2013. Prashant has worked with law firms in Delhi and in academia in India and Singapore. He is also co-author of the book Create, Copy, Disrupt: India's Intellectual Property Dilemmas (OUP).

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