Google hails Delhi HC verdict on ads trademark policy

New Delhi (IANS) Google on Saturday said it is pleased with the Delhi High Court verdict which held that the company’s ads trademark policy is in compliance with the Indian Trademarks Act (TM Act) and does not amount to infringement of trademarks, unless the resulting ad upon review is held to mislead users as to the source of origin of the ad.

In a statement, the company said that specifically on its ads trademarks policy, “we have a clear and stated policy that does not allow advertisers to use trademarked terms in the ad-text of an ad, except in certain pro-consumer and legal scenarios, such as resellers and informational sites”.

“As a company, we comply with all local laws,” it added.

Google said that it investigates any reported use of a trademarked term in the adtext and takes prompt action to not only remove such ads but block that same advertiser from referencing the trademark in their ads in the future.

The company responded after the Delhi High Court determined this week that Google cannot claim safe harbour protection under the Information Technology Act, 2000, or be exempt from liability for trademark infringement when using a trademark as a keyword in its ads programme.

A bench comprising of Justices Vibhu Bakhru and Amit Mahajan also acknowledged that the ads programme functions as a commercial venture by Google and consequently, employing a trademark as a keyword in advertisements for products or services constitutes the utilisation of the trademark in advertising according to Section 29(6) of the Trademarks Act.

Nonetheless, the court clarified that employing these trademarks as keywords wouldn’t amount to infringement if there is no confusion, dilution, or compromise of the trademark’s integrity.

On the subject of safe harbour and Google’s liability under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, the court emphasised that the tech giant is an active participant, not a passive intermediary, in its ads programme.

Google said that it wants users to trust the ads on its platform, “so we strive to ensure ads are clear and honest, and provide the information that users need to make informed decisions”.

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