Keyword advertising disputes can be heard by courts either in the country the disputed trademark is registered in, or the country the advertiser is located in, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) has ruled.
In Wintersteiger AG v Products 4U, Austrian ski manufacturer Wintersteiger said its name had been infringed by German company Products 4U. The German company, which sold accessories for ski manufacturers, registered ‘Wintersteiger’ under google.de so that searches for the name also prompted a link to its own website.
Wintersteiger filed for an injunction in the Austrian courts, arguing that google.de could be accessed in Austria. But Products 4U contested the international jurisdiction of the Austrian courts and said the advertisement was intended only for German customers.
In Austria, the court of the first instance had ruled that national courts did not have the jurisdiction to rule on the case. The Court of Appeal, by contrast, said it had the jurisdiction but dismissed Wintersteiger’s claims. On appeal, the Supreme Court referred the case to the CJEU, asking it to rule on jurisdiction.
The court ruled first that the company owning the trademark Wintersteiger “must” be able to bring an action in that same country. It then said that although the technical display process was owned by Google, the advertiser’s location must be held to be where the display process is activated. Actions, therefore, may also be brought in that country.
This article was first published on 01 May 2012 in World IP Review
CJEU, Wintersteiger, keyword advertising