Avoid using rival company trade marks in Google Adwords, warns law firm

Following Interflora's trade mark infringement case against Marks & Spencer, patent and trade mark law firm Marks & Clerk has warned other companies from falling into the same trap.

Last month, the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice recommended that Marks & Spencer be found liable for trade mark infringement for using ‘Interflora’ as a Google AdWord.

This meant that anytime someone searched the term ‘Interflora’ into the Google search engine, Mark& Spencer Flowers would appear as a search result.

Commenting on the case, Marks & Clerk Solicitors partner Kirsten Gilbert said:  "The Advocate General considers that use of a rival trade mark as a Google AdWord constitutes trade mark infringement where the consumer is unable to determine whether or not the advert is for the brand they originally search for.

"While online consumers are much more informed than 15 years ago, rivals should shy away from using each other’s trade marks for their own commercial purposes where doubt of ambiguity as to the origin of the goods or services could arise."

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