French Competence for a foreign Google Adwords


A decision from the French High Court dated November 23, 2010, involving AXA and DIRECT ASSURANCE against the search engine, has just been published. The matter related to an interesting procedural aspect when it comes to sue in France advertising links which are displayed on foreign Google websites.

The High Court said that French jurisdictions are not empowered to handle matters directed against advertising links displayed on, and because these websites i) are not aimed to the French public but respectively to the German, British and Canadian  publics and ii) do not have an economic impact on the French public.

This position is in line with the dominant French case law as to the competence of our jurisdictions which requires the content of a website to have a link with the French public (which may result from use of the French tongue) or elements showing that the products and/or services in concerned are aimed to the French public (such as France amongst the delivery places).


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