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September 23, 2009

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Google off the hook for now over ads

A EUROPEAN Union court adviser said yesterday that Google Inc does not violate luxury goods makers' trademarks when it sells brand names as advertising keywords triggered by Internet searches.

The advisor's legal opinion will now be studied by judges at the European Court of Justice.

But Advocate General Miguel Poiares Maduro did not give Google a complete all-clear, warning that it could be held liable if brand owners could show Google's ads had damaged their trademarks.

The French companies claim that Google broke the law by accepting ads using a brand name without permission.

They fear this would allow counterfeiters to buy keywords such as "Louis Vuitton" on Google's Adwords system and use it to sell fake bags when a user taps the phrase into Google's search engine.


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