Google, Online Search and Consumer Confusion in Australia

(2016) 42(3) International Journal of Law and Information Technology 203

38 Pages Posted: 9 Apr 2016 Last revised: 28 Sep 2016

See all articles by Amanda Scardamaglia

Amanda Scardamaglia

Swinburne University of Technology

Angela Daly

University of Strathclyde - School of Law; Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law; Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Date Written: August 1, 2016

Abstract

The legality of the operation of Google’s search engine, and its liability as an Internet intermediary, has been tested in various jurisdictions on various grounds. In Australia, there was an ultimately unsuccessful case against Google under the Australian Consumer Law relating to how it presents results from its search engine. Despite this failed claim, several complex issues were not adequately addressed in the case including whether Google sufficiently distinguishes between the different parts of its search results page, so as not to mislead or deceive consumers. This article seeks to address this question of consumer confusion by drawing on empirical survey evidence of Australian consumers’ understanding of Google’s search results layout. This evidence, the first of its kind in Australia, indicates some level of consumer confusion. The implications for future legal proceedings in against Google in Australia and in other jurisdictions are discussed.

Keywords: Consumer confusion, Google, intermediary liability, empirical evidence, trade marks, cyberlaw

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Scardamaglia, Amanda and Daly, Angela, Google, Online Search and Consumer Confusion in Australia (August 1, 2016). (2016) 42(3) International Journal of Law and Information Technology 203. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2760730

Amanda Scardamaglia

Swinburne University of Technology ( email )

Cnr Wakefield and William Streets, Hawthorn Victor
3122 Victoria, Victoria 3122
Australia

Angela Daly (Contact Author)

University of Strathclyde - School of Law ( email )

Lord Hope Building
John Anderson Campus 141 St. James' Rd
Glasgow G4 0LT, Scotland G4 0LT
United Kingdom

Queensland University of Technology - Faculty of Law ( email )

Level 4, C Block Gardens Point
2 George St
Brisbane, QLD 4000
Australia

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

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