The Victory of Google in The Australian Supreme Court

Authors: Mykolas Jakutis, an Assistant to Attorney-at-Law in METIDAErikas Saukalas, an Associate Partner, Head of International Relations Division in METIDA

metida1The Australian Supreme Court made an end to a case which lasted for five years between company Google and The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about sponsored links in Google’s search using AdWords programme. The Supreme Court of Australia stated that Google did not create and is not responsible for the sponsored links which appear in the search results.

Google AdWords is Google’s suggested website advertising system entailing advertisements in both Google’s search system and other websites registered in AdSense system. This AdWords programme provides an opportunity for the advertiser to create sponsored links which will be displayed to the users when specific key words will be entered into the search system. These links are shown separately from the main search results and are also in a particular column.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission stated that some of the sponsored links that appear in Google search results are misleading and infringing Australian users’ rights. However, the Australian Supreme Court stated that Google search system is only a means of communication between advertisers and users. Google did not create sponsored links which it published. The court also denoted that a user using Google search system would be capable of understanding that the advertiser is the actual creator and the proprietor of these links. It has been thus decided that Google did not practise a misleading and false behavior.

However, even though Google was not found responsible in this particular case, it does not indicate that other business subjects associated with information and advertisement distribution in search systems cannot be responsible for advertisements’ content.

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