From positive to negative keywords
The online search for the marks CARASEXE and WIZIOU owned by 2L MULTIMEDIA leads to commercial links to its competitor MEETIC although MEETIC has not chosen the two marks as keywords.
On September 17, 2008, the Paris Court of First Instance did not regard GOOGLE and MEETIC as liable for not having placed trademarks of a competitor as negative keywords. The judge pointed out that 2L MULTIMEDIA should have put its marks as negative keywords on the GOOGLE system
Unfair competition ground of action
On October 23, 2008, the Paris Trade Court of First Instance retained unfair competition against Google’s Adword system and allowed 100,000 € as damages. The owner of the domain name cobrason.com indeed complained that this searches on “cobrason” displayed a competitor website address in the commercial links. The solution reflects the increasing legal weight given to earlier domain names. The plaintiff had no trademark and only raised his company name and domain name. It also illustrates the tendency to grant substantial damages against GOOGLE.
Doubts on French Courts Competence?
On September 9, 2008, the French High Court considered that Penal French jurisdictions were not competent for handling a copyright counterfeiting case made on an Italian website accessible in France. This decision is in our view isolated and linked to the penal requirements of the proceeding involved.
The solution contradicts the competence usually granted to French jurisdictions for trademark infringement over the internet. We will monitor how the French case law moves and further report.