The Federal Court of Australia has examined the issue of trade mark infringement by advertisers using competitors’ trade marks as Google AdWords. Advertisers need to ensure they do not use competitors’ marks as a ‘badge of origin’ to avoid trade mark infringement.
Veda Advantage Limited v Malouf Group Enterprises Pty Limited concerned Veda, a financial services company and Malouf, a credit repair business. A “VedaScore” is a number that summarises the information in a person’s credit file and is expressed as a number between 0 and 1200. In simple terms, the higher a person’s VedaScore, the better that person’s credit profile and the more likely that person will receive credit.
Malouf purchased a series of keywords that contained the word “veda”, so when a consumer typed “veda” into Google’s search engine, their search results would include sponsored ad links for Malouf’s services.