By Jason Theodorou

Search giant Google is to allow brands in Europe to advertise alongside search results for the trademarks of rivals, bringing the company's rules in Europe in line with their rules in the US, Canada, the UK and Ireland.

The change will take effect from September 14, and follows a ruling by the European Court of Justice that Google does not violate EU law by selling trademarked names as keywords. The Court said that Google's ultimate culpability in alleged copyright infringement had to be decided by national courts on a case by case basis.

LVMH Moët Hennessy • Louis Vuitton S.A had argued that Google violated their copyright by selling trademark-protected works as keywords, which then directed users to websites which sold fake versions of their luxury goods products.

Google said in a statement that the move would allow the company to 'harmonise policies around the world... Users will benefit by seeing more relevant ads following a search on Google'.

The ruling is likely to make it more expensive for brand owners to relate crucial keywords to their products, by allowing rivals to make generous bids for AdWords. Third party resellers and review sites can now also include the names of brands and trademarks in the text of their advertisments.


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