Brand bidding on Adwords take note, EU – Interflora vs M&S

BusinessWeek reported the ruling on the case of Interflora vs M&S here.

Interflora, the world’s largest flower delivery network, claimed that M&S was infringing its registered trade marks by purchasing several keywords containing the mark INTERFLORA.  Consumers clicking on the ads will be directed to M&S’s online flower delivery service.

It will need to establish whether the reasonably well-informed internet user is deemed to be aware, on the basis of general knowledge of the market, that M&S is not part of Interflora’s network

In a ruling last year in a dispute between Google and LVMH, the EU court ruled that brand owners can sue advertisers who buy protected keywords and display ads on the search engine’s website that make it difficult for users to see whether they sell original or fake products.

The rulings hence make clear what advertisers should do:

  1. Ads should be clear to the informed consumer that they do not come from the original brand owner
  2. Ads should not cause reputation harm to the original brand owner

In short, brand bidding is currently still allowed for your digital marketing effort but it has to be ethical.