Louis Vuitton Wins Appeal Againt Google in French Trademark Suit.

PARIS, June 28, 2006 -- A French court of appeals on Wednesday rules in favor of of the fashion company Louis Vuitton and affirmed a lower court ruling that Google infringed on Vuitton's trademark by selling search-related keyword advertising to competitors.

The Paris Court of Appeals ordered Google and its French subsidiary to pay 300,00 Euros ($376,589) in damages for trademark infringement, unfair competition and misleading advertising. The court also issued an order to Google forbissing the use of Louis Vuitton's trademarks in its advertising on all of its Web sites accessible from France. Google was also ordered to pay Louis Vuitton 75,000 Euros ($94,139) in legal expenses and to publish the ruling in four news magazines and an online site.

Google issed a prepared statement saying, "This is an old Adwords case--and none of the issues apply today. We have a trademark policy, which prevents bids on other people's registered trademarks, and we do not allow people to advertise with AdWords for counterfeit products. Today's case does not raise any new issues whatsoever."

Louis Vuitton filed its suit in early 2004. The Paris District Court ruled against Google in February 2005 and ordered the search company to pay Louis Vuitton 200,000 euros. The original ruling came shortly after another French court ordered Google to refrain form using the trademarks of a European resort chain, Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, to trigger keyword ads.

Google has also dealt lawsuits in the United States involving keyword searches displaying competitors trademarks. Earlier in 2006, the parent company of a payday loan provider, Check 'n Go, sued Google in federal court in Ohio, alleging that the Google search engine permits other payday lenders to purchase ads that would appear when the trademarked phrase "check n go" is searched. Goodle also settled a case in September 2005 brought by Geico, and still faces a lawsuit brought by American Blind and Wallpaper Factory.

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