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Google Wins AdWords Case in Australia

Google has won a landmark advertisement lawsuit in Australia with a reigning that the Web giant was not accountable for deceptive advertising that ran on its website.

The five judges of Australia's High Court unanimously ruled Wednesday that Google did not go against the commerce laws by letting companies to buy AdWords affiliated to competitors' names. The judgment upturned a Federal Court's ruling last April that recovered four advertisements acquired on the site between March 2006 and July 2007 were deceptive and in offense of Australia's Trade Practices Act 1974.

Google appealed the judgment, arguing that it was simply acting as a publishing company and was not liable for content and representations created by AdWords purchasers.

The High Court agreed today, saying that even casual users of the search engine would not have confused Google as the creator of the ads.

"At first instance, the special judge found that although the challenged representations were misleading and dishonest, those representations had not been created by Google," the court said. Google said in a short statement that it greeted the decision.

The judgment puts to remain a six-year legal conflict between Google and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), that country's user watchdog. The ACCC in 2007 accused Google of involving in "misleading and deceptive" behavior when it showed ads for a company called CarSales in search results affiliated to Honda Australia.

The ACCC said it bring down the case to clear up advertising law in the digital era and would assessment the judgment to find out whether there were wider ramifications.

AdWords allows individual to bid on a bestowed keyword and win position on the top or right side of a search results page based on an accumulation of factors such as the maximum attempt for that keyword as well as the choice of the ad.

Google has been litigated before by companies such as American Airlines, GEICO, and Rosetta Stone, which debated that keywords are an enlargement of the trademark they have obtained on their brands and that Google should not be inspiriting competitors to go against the trademark by using it to boost their own products.

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