Thursday, February 07, 2013
Google claims victory in court battle with Australian watchdog over how its results are presented
This was a stupid prosecution from the beginning that has cost the Australian taxpayer a lot of money for no apparent reason. But the ACCC is something of a bully organization. Most businesses settle with them rather that wear the expense of court proceedings. Getting into the High Court was no strain on Google's funds, however
Internet search giant Google has won its legal battle with the consumer watchdog, after the High Court overturned a ruling that the company had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had taken legal action against Google over sponsored links its search engine delivered in response to searches for particular companies. The sponsored links took the user to the websites of rival companies.
The full court of the Federal Court found Google had engaged misleading and deceptive conduct by publishing these links.
Google appealed to the High Court which today unanimously found in its favour.
The High Court found that Google did not create the sponsored links and ordinary reasonable users of Google would have understood that the sponsored links conveyed the representation of advertisers, and Google's conduct was not misleading or deceptive.
John Swinson, technology partner with law firm King & Wood Mallesons, said the 5-0 judgment in Google’s favour, after it had previously lost 3-0 on an earlier appeal, would be welcomed by tech companies as it limits their liability for actions by users of their technology.