“interflora” Won case against Mark & Spencer on Google Adword Keyword Battle


May. 13

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Interflora people must be very happy with court battle results, that Mark & Spencer can not use florist’s Trademark for Google adwords boost. Inteflora is a leading florist in UK and M&S is a leading retain chain in UK. Marks & Spencer were using “interflora” keyword and bidding high to appear on first rank on google keyword programme. But ultimately it is now turned out as a trademark infringement.


Story / History

Inteflora and M&S case started in 2008 when M&S used florist’s trademarked keywords on Google adword program. So when anyone search ‘interflora’ on Google display of adword link would trigger first on search result page. The text in the link made no reference to “Interflora”, although it was a supplier used by the retailer. This Google adword strategy worked very well according to sources.

The florist claimed this impeded its search engine optimisation (SEO) results. The case was referred to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) in 2009 by Mr Justice Arnold to determine whether or not the use of a trademarked term as a keyword constitutes ’use in trade’, and therefore trademark infringement according to EU law.

And The Judgment

Mr Justice Arnold said: “The M&S advertisements which are the subject of Interflora’s claim did not enable reasonably well-informed and reasonably attentive internet users to ascertain whether the service referred to in the advertisements originated from [M&S or Interflora]. On the contrary, as of 6th May 2008, a significant proportion of the consumers who searched for “interflora” and the other Signs, and then clicked on M&S’s advertisements displayed in response to those searches, were led to believe, incorrectly, that M&S’s flower delivery service was part of the Interflora network.”

Rhys Hughes, president of Interflora British Unit, said: “this ruling helps ensure that when consumers search on the internet for “Interflora”, they can be confident in knowing that the flowers

bought online come from a member of the Interflora network. Keyword advertising is a very powerful tool for reputation management and so it is vital for consumer protection that internet search results take consumers directly to the brands they are looking for. The Interflora brand stands for quality and for reputation management, a reputation we have been building, with our network of independent florists, since 1923.”

A Marks & Spencer spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by today’s judgement. As we are considering our position and all the options available to us it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further at this stage.”

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