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Google sparks war of the roses

Date

Louise Hall

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The online florist Roses Only is suing a South Australian competitor, easyflowers.com.au, claiming it attempted to hijack customers by paying Google to obtain greater prominence on the search engine.

Roses Only claims the easyflowers.com.au website appears as a ''sponsored link'' when the term ''roses only'' is entered as a Google search.

The plaintiffs, who have run the rosesonly.com.au website and two retail stores since 1998, claim easyflowers.com.au and its director, Jason Squire, have broken consumer law by misrepresenting that the companies are associated, affiliated or connected.

It is also claimed the Easyflowers business used the Roses Only trademark on its website to offer roses for sale.

Google has allowed advertisers to buy specific words that return sponsored results that, when clicked on, take consumers to websites of rival companies. easyflowers.com.au and Mr Squire are yet to file a defence to the claim.

The matter will be heard in the Federal Court on June 22.

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