Trademark Infringement in Keyword Advertising in India: A Case Study of Google

  • Purva Mandale
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  • Purva Mandale

    Student at Symbiosis Law School, Pune, India

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In today's digital era, businesses harness the power of the internet to expand their online presence and attract a broader customer base. One potent tool in their digital arsenal is keyword advertising, which enables them to connect with and engage online customers effectively. This practice is facilitated by major search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Bing, offering keyword advertising programs that allow advertisers to bid on and purchase keywords relevant to their products and services. When users input these acquired keywords into search engines, the corresponding company's website or advertisement gains priority visibility, leading to increased web traffic. However, challenges arose as companies began exploiting this approach by purchasing keywords associated with their competitors' trademarks, to ensure that their own websites would dominate search results when customers sought their competitors' offerings, potentially causing trademark infringement and marketplace confusion. This paper delves into two pivotal questions: 1. Does keyword advertising inherently result in trademark infringement? 2. Should Google or other search engines bear liability for selling trademarks as keywords? To address these inquiries, the article scrutinizes recent court rulings within the Indian jurisdiction. The accompanying literature review spotlights the intricacies and legal loopholes in trademark protection laws, emphasizing the urgent need for legislative updates to accommodate the complexities of digital advertising. Employing a mixed-methods approach, the research combines legal analysis, case studies, and academic research papers. The article focuses on recent Indian court cases revolving around Google's AdWords program, with a particular emphasis on determining whether Google's use of trademarks as keywords amounts to trademark infringement. Thus, this article study underscores the evolving nature of trademark law in the digital age and emphasizes the critical need to strike a balance between competitive advertising and robust trademark protection.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 6, Issue 5, Page 885 - 891


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This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution -NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits remixing, adapting, and building upon the work for non-commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.


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