Sydney: Google has won a legal battle with the Australian consumer watchdog, after a court overturned a ruling that the Internet search giant had engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct.
The ruling ends a six-year legal battle in which the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleged that sponsored links using keywords for Honda, Harvey World Travel, Alpha Dog Training and Just 4X4 magazine were published by Google and led consumers to rival firms.
The case related to search results in 2006 and 2007, where a search for Honda Australia showed a paid advertisement for a Honda competitor, CarSales.
According to the Age, the ACCC said the ads were deceptive, as they suggested CarSales was linked to Honda.
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 that unanimously found in its favour.
According to the report, the High Court found that Google did not create the sponsored links.
It said that 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, the report added.
First Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 11:09