The High Court today unanimously upheld Google Inc.’s appeal from a judgement of the Full Federal Court which had found that Google had contravened the Trade Practices Act 1974 by engaging in misleading or deceptive conduct.
The ACCC will carefully review the judgement of the High Court to understand whether it has broader ramifications and will consider any consequences for enforcement of the Australian Consumer Law.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said, “The ACCC took these proceedings to clarify the law relating to advertising practices in the internet age. Specifically, we considered that providers of online content should be accountable for misleading or deceptive conduct when they have significant control over what is delivered.”
“The High Court’s decision focused only on Google’s conduct. In the facts and circumstances of this case the High Court has determined that Google did not itself engage in misleading or deceptive conduct,” Mr Sims said.
“It was not disputed in the High Court that the representations made in sponsored links by advertisers were misleading or deceptive.”
“It remains the case that all businesses involved in placing advertisements on search engines must take care not to mislead or deceive consumers,” Mr Sims said.
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