Interflora is delighted by the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union which today ruled in their favour. This ruling will enable brand holders across Europe to deliver quality service and ensure that trade marks guarantee the origin of the goods bought by consumers online. Keyword advertising is a very powerful tool and so it is vital for consumer protection that internet search results take consumers immediately to the brands they were
This judgment goes much further than previous rulings by saying that the use by a competitor of a keyword identical to the trade mark in relation to identical goods or services has an adverse effect on the investment in the trade mark where that use substantially interferes with the brand’s reputation and its ability to attract and retain consumers. Further, a competitor may be construed as free-riding on a brand when that competitor uses the brand owner’s trade mark as a paid for keyword to deliver sponsored advertising along side natural search results. This is exactly what Interflora and other global brands have been arguing for many years.
However, Interflora acknowledges that the judgment of the Court of Justice needs to be applied by the High Court in the UK to determine the question of Marks & Spencer’s liability. This is expected in the course of 2012.
Michael Barringer, Interflora’s marketing director said that “this judgment backs all the hard work and effort we have put in to defending the Interflora brand. People searching the internet for “Interflora” want “Interflora, the flower experts” and no one else. Our brand stands for quality and service and together with our network of independent florists, we have spent the last 80 years building this reputation. Our customers trust us to deliver flowers at the most important times of their lives. We are very proud of the Interflora brand and want to protect it for our customers, florists and the future.”
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