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Chapter 22. Trademark Infringement > International Law Leading the Way

International Law Leading the Way

In August 2003, handbag maker Louis Vuitton filed a lawsuit against Google and its French subsidiary for trademark infringement. The filing itself isn't monumental news. The fact that in an October 2003 court ruling in France, French firms Viaticum and Luteciel sued Google's French subsidiary for trademark violation and collectively won $89,000 in damages is significant. A legal precedent, even if overseas, has been set.

New laws addressing trademark infringement in the search engine advertising market are coming. However, it will take time to determine how comparative advertising, First Amendment (free speech) rights, fair use provisions, false advertising, dilution of company marks, unfair competition, the Lanham Act, and other laws or issues apply to the use of trademarks on the Internet. In the meantime, brand owners can enlist the help of a legal team and the search engines in protecting their trademarks from competitors.


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