So much for the dire tone in reports Monday about an expected ruling in Europe on Google's keyword advertising practices. An adviser to the European Union's top court in effect said, "Nevermind."
Weighing in on a conflict with luxury goods maker Louis Vuitton, Advocate General Poiares Maduro on Tuesday said Google has not infringed trademark rights, reports Reuters. He said EU law allows the search engine to sell trademark-protected terms as keywords that link Internet searches and ads. The court generally follows the adviser's recommendations, the story says.
Google's response to the decision was cautious:
We believe that selecting a keyword to trigger the display of an ad does not amount to trademark infringement, and that consumers benefit from seeing more relevant information rather than less.
However, Google still might be liable for running ads that offer trademark-infringing products in its AdWords advertising service, according to an IDG story in The New York Times.
And the search engine still falls subject to laws in the 27 individual nations that might be different, according to Bloomberg.