The Court of Paris’ judgement on search engine positioning, trademarks and counterfeiting

On June 10, 2022, the Court of Paris judged the reproduction of the registered trademark ‘Carré Blanc’ in the header and the URL address of web pages accessible through the domain name as an act of counterfeiting as it was liable to mislead users with respect to the availability – on those web pages – of original ‘Carré Blanc’ products.¹

According to the judges, such use enabled the web pages at stake to improve their natural and paid referencing in the results on the main search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) and, subsequently, to increase their user traffic without the original ‘Carré Blanc’ products actually being available for purchase on those pages.

The literal meaning of the sign (in English, “White Square”) and its use to distinguish articles of household linen and bathrobes did not prevent the French Court from recognising its distinctiveness, also considering the particular intensity of its use by its company owner, i.e. Carré Blanc Expansion.

The Court of Paris, after having ascertained the trademark’s counterfeiting, thus inhibited the defendant company from continuing the contested use and ordered it to pay damages.

[1]Tribunal judiciaire de Paris, 3e ch. – 2e sec., Jugement du 10 Juin 2022


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