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Court orders Google to turn over identity of person who ran alleged defamatory ad campaign

The company believes a competitor ran the campaign.

Image: Virginia Mayo

THE HIGH COURT has ordered Google to disclose the identity of one of its account holder to a UK-based IT training company.

The Knowledge Academy Holdings Ltd, which offers IT, human resources and management training courses to companies and the public sector, sought the order claiming its trademark has been infringed and it has been defamed in a Google Adwords campaign.

The Knowledge Academy wants to identify those behind the campaign in proceedings it intends to take in the UK. To do that it needs to be provided information about the Adword account holder from Google.

Adwords is Google’s online advertising service that places advertising in the list of search results.

In order to obtain those details the Knowledge Academy needed an order from the Irish courts, because the information requested relates to services provided by Google Ireland Ltd.

The information it seeks include the name, address. phone number and e mail addresses of the person or persons responsible for the campaign which was processed by the internet service providers in or around June of 2016.

The application came before Mr Justice Anthony Hunt at the High Court today. After considering the submission made by the Knowledge Academy by Rossa Fanning BL the judge said he was satisfied to grant the orders sought.

Google Ireland said it was neither consenting to nor objecting to the making of the order.

Fanning said his client, which has no complaint against Google and was “innocently all mixed up in the matter”, did not know who was behind the AdWord campaign. However it believes that a competitor may be behind the campaign.

Counsel said his client’s business has been damaged by the campaign. The campaign, counsel added, links the business to online articles which the company says are defamatory and are the subject of legal correspondence with the publisher.

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Aodhan O Faolain

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