Keyword Advertising Law Blossoming in the UK: Interflora v Marks & Spencer [2013] EWHC 1291


Interflora Wins AdWords Battle -

In another win for trade mark owners in the battle against the unauthorised use of their marks in keyword advertising, the UK High Court of Justice recently held that Marks & Spencer (M&S) infringed Interflora's trade marks by purchasing AdWords for the INTERFLORA mark (and variations of the mark) to trigger sponsored links on Google for the M&S website.

Importantly, M&S did not use the INTERFLORA trade mark in the text of its advertisements. The law in Australia continues to develop in relation to online conduct and whether it can constitute a trade mark infringement, misleading and deceptive conduct or passing off. As Australian courts are yet to directly consider the factual scenario presented in Interflora v Marks & Spencer, this case provides some useful guidance on the issues that Australian trade mark owners, as well as advertisers using competitors' marks as keywords, should consider in their online advertising practices and when this will result in trade mark infringement.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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