The High Court of England and Wales has today announced its judgement in the case of Interflora, Inc. and Interflora British Unit versus Marks and Spencer plc, which has been ongoing since 2008.
Justice Arnold ruled in favour of Interflora, finding that Marks and Spencer's use of the ‘Interflora’ trade mark as a Google AdWord to advertise its M&S Flowers & Gifts website was trademark infringement.
Justice Arnold said: "The M&S advertisements which are the subject of Interflora’s claim did not enable reasonably well-informed and reasonably attentive internet users to ascertain whether the service referred to in the advertisements originated from [M&S or Interflora] ... On the contrary, as at 6 May 2008, a significant proportion of the consumers who searched for “interflora” and the other signs, and then clicked on M&S’s advertisements displayed in response to those searches, were led to believe, incorrectly, that M&S’s flower delivery service was part of the Interflora network."
The judgment means that Marks and Spencer cannot bid on the trademarked term ‘Interflora’ in the Google AdWords programme.
Rhys Hughes, president of Interflora British Unit, said: "This ruling helps ensure that when consumers search on the internet for "Interflora", they can be confident in knowing that the flowers bought online come from a member of the Interflora network. Keyword advertising is a very powerful tool and so it is vital for consumer protection that internet search results take consumers directly to the brands they are looking for. The Interflora brand stands for quality and service, a reputation we have been building, with our network of independent florists, since 1923.”
The case will return to court later in the year to determine how much Marks and Spencer must pay Interflora in terms of damages.