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LVMH Ends Legal Spat With Google Over Counterfeit Search

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA ended a longstanding dispute with Google Inc., agreeing to work with the world’s largest search engine to help prevent vendors from advertising counterfeit goods online.

LVMH had accused Mountain View, California-based Google of violating its trademark rights by selling protected words as keywords that then link users to websites selling counterfeit items when they search under the French company’s brands. Google in 2010 allowed the practice, following a European Union court ruling, bringing the company’s policy in Europe in line with company rules in about 190 countries.

While Google has implemented a system for filtering advertising that may infringe copyright, the search-engine owner can only remove illegal links if a company flags it, said Carlo D’Asaro Biondo, Google’s head of southern and eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa. Google has already shut down many ad links for motives that include copyright and trademarks infringement, totaling more than 500 million in 2013 and 2012.

“We are ready and available to implement the notice-and-takedown practice to other companies, not only LVMH,” D’Asaro Biondo said in a telephone interview, referring to the removal mechanism.

The agreement is the second truce the world’s largest luxury-goods company has announced in as many days. Paris-based LVMH agreed yesterday to distribute its stake in Hermes International SCA to shareholders and institutional investors, following intervention by a French court. The move ended a four-year battle after the maker of Krug champagne and Hublot watches started building the holding without Hermes’s knowledge.

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