CANBERRA Feb 6 Global search engine Google Inc
won a landmark court case in Australia on Wednesday
when the country's High Court ruled the Internet giant was not
responsible for messages conveyed by paid advertisers on its
The finding ends a six-year legal battle between Google and
Australia's consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission (ACCC), which accused Google of engaging in
misleading and deceptive conduct over paid advertisements.
The case related to search results in 2006 and 2007, where a
search for Honda Australia would show a paid advertisement for a
Honda competitor, CarSales. The ACCC said the ads were
deceptive, as they suggested CarSales was linked to Honda Motor
But in a unanimous finding, five judges of Australia's High
Court ruled in favour of Google, overturning a ruling from the
Federal Court. The lower court had ordered Google to set up a
compliance programme to make sure paid advertisements on its
search engine were not misleading.
The five High Court judges said Google did not create the
sponsored links and the company was not responsible for messages
in the links.
"Ordinary and reasonable users of the Google search engine
would have understood that the representations conveyed by the
sponsored links were those of the advertisers, and would not
have concluded that Google adopted or endorsed the
representations," the court said.
Google issued a brief statement saying it welcomed the
A Google search for Honda Australia on Wednesday displayed
paid ads for Honda Australia's website.