The German Federal Court of Justice – Der Bundesgerichtshof – this week decided that a trademark owner can oppose the use of his brand keyword in an advertisement on Google search. The opposition is valid when the advertisement is misleading due to the ad design and when customers are led to the offer of third-party products.
Ortlieb took the case to court against Amazon, after realising that Amazon was advertising on the search terms “Ortlieb bicycle bag”, “Ortlieb luggage bag,” and “Ortlieb outlet.” Amazon was linking the search ads for these keywords to amazon.de, showing other manufacturers besides Ortlieb products.
Ortlieb claimed that the advertisements linked to a mixed offer of products that violate the right to the trademark. Ortlieb doesn’t sell directly on Amazon.
The Federal Supreme Court concluded that the Amazon ads on Google search were misleading and that the trademark owner can oppose to these ads.