'Google AdWords litigation' between Marks & Spencer and Interflora

On 21 May, Arnold J in the High Court delivered his judgment in the ‘Google AdWords’ litigation between Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Interflora. This article summarises the High Court decision but also asks where that decision leaves comparative advertising — something of a forgotten man in this litigation.

Applying the reasoning of the European Court, Arnold J held that M&S had infringed Interflora’s trademarks. This was because M&S’s advertisements, which were generated when a user searched via Google for certain of Interflora’s trademarks (such as INTERFLORA), did not enable reasonably well-informed and reasonably attentive internet users to work out (or to work out without difficulty) if the service referred to in the advertisements originated from the trademark proprietor — in other words, Interflora, a business connected with it, or a third party, when the latter was the case. This damaged the origin function of the trademark.

It is worth at this point recalling that the infringement related back to 2008 when, perhaps, internet users were not as adept as they are now, five years later, at distinguishing keyword results from normal search term results…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Walker Morris briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in


It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer


Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.


Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.


Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Walker Morris

View more briefings from Walker Morris

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer


Kings Court
12 King Street

Turnover (£m): 42.50
No. of lawyers: 188