A six-year long dispute between search engine giant Google and Australia’s fair trade regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), ended on February 6, 2013 with that country’s High Court unanimously ruling in favour of Google. The ACCC had alleged that Google engaged in deceptive advertising by allowing companies to purchase AdWords containing their competitor’s names. For example, a search on Google for “Honda Australia” would result in the appearance of a paid advertisement for Honda’s competitor, CarSales. The High Court dismissed the ACCC's argument on the basis that “ordinary and reasonable users” would know that Google was not responsible for or endorsed the messages contained in the sponsored links.
This case follows several lawsuits launched against Google over the selling of AdWords. American Airlines, GEICO and Rosetta Stone are among the companies that have sued Google for trade-mark infringement.
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