Google wins Australian advert case

Sep 22, 2011
Global Internet giant Google won a court case against Australia's competition regulator Thursday over claims that sponsored links at the top of its search results were misleading to consumers.

Global Internet giant Google won a court case against Australia's competition regulator Thursday over claims that sponsored links at the top of its search results were misleading to consumers.

While noting that the word "advertisement" could have been less confusing for Internet users than "sponsored links", Federal Court judge Antony Nicholas ruled that Google had not breached consumer law in its search presentation.

"I am not satisfied that Google contravened (trade practices laws) by failing to sufficiently distinguish advertisements from organic on its search results pages," Nicholas said.

Most consumers would have appreciated that "sponsored links" were adverts, he found, ending a lengthy court battle which started in 2007.

The ruling came after Google chief faced a Senate grilling in Washington on Wednesday where he rejected charges that the has "cooked" search results to favour its own products and services.

Google is also involved in a copyright infringement case in New York over its controversial book-scanning project, and faces anti-competition complaints over mobile phone operating systems in .

Since it launched the case the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said Google had "changed the description of its advertisements on its search results pages from 'sponsored links' to 'ads'."

It had also rolled out a business names policy to ensure advertiser links accurately reflected what they were selling and did not seek to associate themselves with unrelated businesses or products.

"This case is important in relation to clarifying advertising practices in the ," said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

"All businesses involved in placing advertisements on search engines must take care not to mislead or deceive consumers."

Though it was unsuccessful, the ACCC noted that Google had also been "scrutinised over trademark use in the United States, France and Belgium".

"Google has also faced scrutiny overseas, particularly in the EU, in relation to competition issues concerning its search results business," it said.

A spokeswoman said the company was pleased that the Australian case had been resolved in their favour.

"Our guiding principle has always been that advertising should benefit both advertisers and users, and our aim is to ensure that ads are relevant and useful," the spokeswoman told AFP.

Explore further: Samsung removes logo on smartphones in Japan

Related Stories

French Internet company seeks $419 mln from Google

Jun 28, 2011

(AP) -- Google faces a new, multimillion-dollar challenge in Europe after a French Internet company filed a lawsuit Tuesday saying the search engine giant unfairly squeezed out competitors in France.

Google wins Rosetta Stone trademark case

Apr 29, 2010

Google said Thursday that a US judge ruled that the Internet giant's AdWords advertising program did not infringe on the trademark of language software producer Rosetta Stone.

Google exec rejects charge search results 'cooked'

Sep 21, 2011

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt rejected charges that the Internet giant has "cooked" search results to favor its own services during a grilling on Wednesday by a Senate antitrust panel.

Google introduces ads to Google News

Feb 26, 2009

Google has introduced ads to the results of search queries on Google News in a move aimed at turning the news aggregation site into a money-making venture that may raise the hackles of newspapers and other ...

Rosetta Stone sues Google over trademark

Jul 10, 2009

Rosetta Stone, a language-learning software producer, on Friday filed a federal lawsuit against Google for infringing its trademark through Google's AdWords online advertising program.

Recommended for you

Taiwan factory workers win $18 mn over cancer deaths

Apr 17, 2015

Workers from a factory in Taiwan which leeched toxic chemicals they say resulted in 200 deaths from cancer and more than 1,000 other cases of the disease won a Tw$564.45 million ($18 million) payout from US electronics company ...

Court monitor: Apple antitrust cooperation has 'declined'

Apr 17, 2015

Apple Inc.'s cooperation with efforts to improve its compliance with antitrust laws after a federal judge concluded it colluded with electronic book publishers to raise prices five years ago took on an "adversarial tone" ...

SEC questions LA Unified on use of bonds for iPad project

Apr 17, 2015

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently questioned Los Angeles Unified School District officials as part of informal inquiry into whether they properly used bond funds for a beleaguered $1.3 billion project to provide ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.