In an appeal decision handed down on Friday, the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia has affirmed a trial judge's decision that metatags and Google advertisements were trademark infringements.
The case concerned a real estate agent advertising short term accommodation, using the name of a nearby Accor hotel (which was a registered trademark) to attract Internet users to the real estate agent's booking website.
The court confirmed findings of the trial judge that the following were trademark uses and trademark infringements: use of of the trademark in the domain name, use in metatags for the website, use in headings for the website, use in email addresses, and use in Google advertisements.
This class deals with liability of intermediaries. For example, is an ISP liable for the conduct of its users? Is a web hosting company liable for the content of others that it hosts? Is TripAdvisor liable for reviews of hotels posted by users? Is Google liable for the content that appears on this blog?
Should such intermediaries be liable for the actions of others?
This is a very topical class, with a number of relevant decisions from the past two weeks. Thus, there is a lot of reading for this class.
The main reading for the class is the iiNet case: Trial Judge DecisionFull Court Appeal Decision
The iiNet case is currently on appeal to the High Court of Australia. Oral argument has been heard, and we are waiting for judgment. It is reported that judgment will be handed down on Friday, 20 April. Transcripts and written submissions can be found on the High Court website.
Please also read the very recent case: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission v. Google Inc. FCAFC…
auDA has constituted a policy review panel to review virtually all domain name policies in Australia, as well as to recommend a policy to implement direct registration in Australia. I am chair of this policy review panel.