Paid keywords / sponsored links goes to ECJ

Frederic Glaize over at Class 46 posted a note last week about the recent referral from the French the Cour de Cassation to the European Court of Justice of the Louis Vuitton case on paid keywords / sponsored ad links.

The case is often vitally important to brand owners globally, and will be watched keenly – we’re looking forward to adding it to our scorecard on paid keywords.

Unfortunately, the Court is not being asked about the liability of the entity who paid for the sponsored link.  (Which makes sense as this is already held to be an infringement under French law, at least.)

Here is a summary of Frederic’s translation of the questions referred:

1) Do providers of sponsored links services  make use of these trade marks which the trade mark owner is entitled to prohibit?

2) In case the trade marks are famous, could their owner prohibit such use?

3) In case such use would not constitute a use that might be prohibited by the trade mark owner, could the sponsored links provider be considered as a hosting service provider, so that its responsibility might not be questionned before it is informed by the trade mark owner of the illicit use of the sign by the advertiser?

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