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Marks and Spencer loses adwords battle with Interflora

The High Court of England and Wales has issued its judgment in the long-running trademark dispute between Interflora and Marks and Spencer.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Marks and Spencer loses adwords battle with Interflora

Justice Arnold ruled that Marks and Spencer’s use of the 'Interflora' trademark as a Google AdWord to advertise its Flowers & Gifts website constituted trademark infringement.

In a statement Justice Arnold said: "The M&S advertisements which are the subject of Interflora’s claim did not enable reasonably well-informed and reasonably attentive internet users to ascertain whether the service referred to in the advertisements originated from [M&S or Interflora] ... On the contrary, as at 6 May 2008, a significant proportion of the consumers who searched for 'Interflora' and the other Signs, and then clicked on M&S’s advertisements displayed in response to those searches, were led to believe, incorrectly, that M&S’s flower delivery service was part of the Interflora network."

The judgment means that Marks and Spencer can no longer bid on 'Interflora' trademark to advertise its flowers and gifts in the Google AdWords programme.

Rhys Hughes, president of Interflora British Unit, said: "This ruling helps ensure that when consumers search on the internet for "Interflora", they can be confident in knowing that the flowers bought online come from a member of the Interflora network. Keyword advertising is a very powerful tool and so it is vital for consumer protection that internet search results take consumers directly to the brands they are looking for. The Interflora brand stands for quality and service, a reputation we have been building, with our network of independent florists, since 1923."

The case will return to court later in the year to determine how much Marks and Spencer must pay Interflora, Inc. and Interflora British Unit by way of damages.


 

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