Ryanair sues Google and Spanish online group

Airline seeking damages over advertising by ecommerce group on search engine’s AdWords service

Ryanair has sued Google Ireland Ltd, along with a Spanish online ecommerce travel agency, whose services include online purchase of airline tickets, including for Ryanair flights.

In its action, Ryanair is claiming damages, including aggravated damages, over alleged infringement by the defendants of certain of the airline’s registered community trademarks and infringement of its intellectual property rights. The airline is also alleging conspiracy, misstatement and misrepresentaiton.

The proceedings against Google Ireland Ltd and Vacaciones EDreams S.L were entered by Mr Justice Brian McGovern, on the application of Google Ireland,  into the Commercial Court list, which fast-tracks big business cases.

In its application for the case to be fast-track, Google Ireland said it is an indrect subsidiary of Google Inc and is Google's centre for sales in Europe, Middle East and Africa (Emea).

It said Emea users of the AdWords online advertising service enter into arrangements with Google to access this service and Ryanair has objected to the manner in which the service has been used by the Spanish company to market its business.

Ryanair is seeking various orders, declarations and damages on grounds including the display by Google of Ryanair’s European Community registered trademarks in any subdomain, url, website address or Google Adword associated with or to the benefit of EDreams infriges Ryanair’s European Community registered trade marks and or intellecutal rights.

The airline also wants a declaration EDreams is passing off its search and booking services and or  websites as being connected with the Ryanair’s search and booking services and website.

It wants orders restraining the defendants using the name Ryanair in an internet search engine for the purpose of generating an ad or promotion concerning the search or booking through EDreams website of Ryanair flights.

It also wants orders, under the European Communities (Misleading and Comparative Marketing Communications) Regulations 2007 prohibiting the defendants engaging in a misleading marketing communication or a prohibited comparative marketing communication.

It is also seeking an inquiry into, or account of profits, arising from the alleged wrongs of the defendants.

The case will come before the Commercial Court again in the new year.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times