Dutch Court explicitly allowes Google to
continue broad matching
According to the Amsterdam District Court, Google's
practice of broadmatching does not raise any trademark concerns where an
advertisement is triggered by a non-trademarked term (i.e. date) even though the
search query contains a trademarked term (here: farm date).
Endless Webdesign is the owner of the word mark
"Farm Date" and demanded that Google remove the sponsored hyperlinks that appear
when search terms "farm date" and "farm-date" are used. Google succesfully
argued that most of the objected advertisements were shown based on the adword
"date". The court ruled that Google didn't infringe plaintiffs trademark by
offering this adword.
So the court explicitly allowed Google to continue
broad matching. Google's own Complaint Procedure for trademark rights outside
the USA and Canada reads:
please be aware that we do not take any action in situations where an
advertisement is being triggered by non-trademarked terms even though the search
query contains a trademarked term. This stems from the fact that Google allows
advertisers to use a broad matching system to target their ads. For example, if
an advertiser has selected the keyword shoes , that advertiser's ad will appear
when a user enters the word "shoes" as a search query, regardless of other
search terms that may be used. So, the ad would show if the user entered any of
the following search queries: "tennis shoes," "red shoes," or "Nike shoes." This
system eliminates the need for the advertiser to specify individually the many
different search query combinations that are relevant to their ad."
Amsterdam District Court, Decision of August 24, 2006, Endless Webdesign v.
Google Netherlands B.V.
Other verdicts on the use of Google ‘adwords’ in the Netherlands:
On November 12, 2004 the District Court of The Hague
held that Yiggers' use of the AdWord "Pretium" (trademark and trade name of its
competitor) is an infringement on Pretium's intellectual property rights. Google
did not join these proceedings.
District Court The Hague, November 12, 2004,
Computerrecht 2005, 7 (Pretium - Yiggers)
According to the
Amsterdam Court of Appeal (Portakabin v. Primakabin, Decision of December 14,
2006) advertisers are allowed to use a trademark as keyword, at least when
- the use is in
connection with the resale of the relevant branded product and
- the link in the
ad leads directly to the subpage on which the branded products are offered for
sale, and not to the homepage.