The Alliance of Digital India Foundation (ADIF) on Tuesday hailed the Delhi High Court’s view that the use of a registered trademark as a keyword on Google Ads by a competitor would amount to trademark infringement.
Justice Prathiba M. Singh had observed that Google Ads creates a situation where a trademark proprietor is being forced to bid for its own trademark for the advertisement of its own goods and services.
“It is unethical of Google to encash upon the goodwill and reputation of brands by allowing their competitors to use their registered trademarks as keywords in Google Ads,” said Sijo Kuruvilla George, the Executive Director of the ADIF.
Justice Singh, in her interim order passed on a lawsuit by MakeMyTrip (plaintiff), said that the use of the ‘MakeMyTrip’ mark on the Google Ads Programme as a keyword by Booking.com and Google would amount to trademark infringement and be detrimental to the plaintiff’s monetary interest and brand equity.
In the European Union, Google investigates the use of trademarks as keywords in published ads, but in India, it refuses to do so, said the ADIF.
In an earlier instance, Justice V. Kameswar Rao of the Delhi High Court said that allowing advertisers to choose a keyword which is a trademarked term or interspersing it with other generic words in the ad-title or ad-text is an infringement.
In that case, the court had questioned the tech giant’s lack of parity in policy and directed Google to investigate the matter of trademark infringement and resultant misleading ads.
“We exhort Google to put an end to the menace of misleading ads on their platforms,” said George.