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High Court Ruling Protects Google From Trademarked Advertising

The High Court in Canberra has rejected ACCC’s attempt to hold Google accountable for its advertisers bidding on competitor’s business names as keywords in an attempt to divert lucrative traffic to their own websites.

ACCC argued that Google’s policies and procedures didn’t hold advertisers accountable and that Google themselves should be held responsible for loss of revenue. Federal court dismissed ACCC’s claims causing the matter to be appealed to the High Court.

For the first time, a legal precedent has now been set; shedding light onto what was previously a legal grey area. Companies such as Google, running search engine pay-per-click advertising, are no longer directly culpable for advertisers bidding on keywords set out to mirror another competitor, declaring that advertisers themselves are responsible for their own AdWords accounts.

Whilst another legal challenge may be required to determine if advertisers are directly culpable of this action, we would advise our valued clients that the risk this poses may not be worth the benefit. Now that the High Court has establish legal precedent, SponsoredLinX would recommend safe optimisation and using “white-hat” techniques and that you seek professional advice before advertising on Google.

If you are concerned your account is using competitor’s brand names as keywords, please give us a call to discuss sooner rather than later. Advertisers who are not using SponsoredLinX management services can book in for a free health check today to determine if their account is exposed to this legal minefield.