Italy: Il Tribunale Di Palermo Su Contraffazione Di Marchio Tramite Adwords E Relativa Responsabilità Dell’internet Service Provider

Last Updated: 23 July 2013
Article by Elena Martini

Con un'articolata sentenza dello scorso 7 giugno 2013 nelle cause riunite 11626/08 e 11627/08, il Tribunale di Palermo (Sezione Specializzata in Materia di Impresa) si è pronunciato in materia di contraffazione di marchio tramite l'uso del noto servizio "AdWords" di Google, nonché in materia di relativa responsabilità dell'Internet Service Provider ("ISP") fornitore del servizio medesimo.

All'origine dei procedimenti vi era l'utilizzo, da parte della società Sicily By Car ("SBC"), del marchio "Maggiore" come keyword per i propri annunci pubblicitari su AdWords. Tale utilizzo veniva contestato dalle società Maggiore Rent S.p.A. e Maggiore Finanziaria di Partecipazioni S.r.l., rispettivamente titolare e licenziataria del marchio in questione e operante la prima nel medesimo settore di SBC. A sua volta, SBC citava in giudizio le società Google Inc., Google Ireland Ltd. e Google Italy S.r.l. (collettivamente "Google"), chiamandole in manleva per il caso di accertamento degli illeciti contestati.

Nella decisione in commento, il Tribunale parte da un approfondito esame della più recente giurisprudenza europea in tema di violazione di marchio in casi analoghi, con particolare riferimento alla sentenza Interflora emessa dalla CGUE in C-323/09 (i cui successivi sviluppi avanti al giudice di merito inglese hanno recentemente visto Interflora avere la meglio sulla controparte Marks & Spencer, che usava il marchio "Interflora" su AdWords). Sulla base dei criteri stabiliti da tale giurisprudenza, il Tribunale si sofferma quindi ad esaminare se l'uso del marchio Maggiore da parte di SBC tramite AdWords vada vietato in quanto capace di compromettere una delle seguenti funzioni del marchio: i) la funzione di indicazione di origine; ii) la funzione di pubblicità; iii) la funzione di investimento.

La compromissione della funzione pubblicitaria viene in realtà immediatamente negata dal Tribunale in adeguamento alla conclusione raggiunta in tema di keyword advertising dalla sentenza Interflora. Il Tribunale ritiene invece compromessa la funzione di indicazione di origine del marchio laddove SBC lo utilizzava non come semplice keyword di AdWords, ma in abbinata con la funzione "dynamic keyword insertion" offerta da tale servizio: in tal caso, infatti, il marchio "Maggiore" compariva come titolo degli annunci pubblicitari di SBC, creando un rischio di confusione presso il pubblico e di associazione tra i prodotti e servizi delle società concorrenti. In tale ipotesi (e di nuovo, quindi, non in caso di semplice utilizzo del marchio come keyword di AdWords), il Tribunale ritiene peraltro compromessa anche la funzione di investimento del marchio, ovvero la funzione di "acquisire o mantenere una reputazione che possa attirare i consumatori e renderli fedeli". Alla luce di tali considerazioni, il Tribunale condanna SBC a risarcire il danno cagionato esclusivamente tramite le campagne pubblicitarie che avevano utilizzato tale funzione della "dynamic keyword insertion".

Sul fronte della responsabilità di Google, la sentenza nega invece qualsiasi responsabilità affermando che l'ISP in questione fornisce esclusivamente, attraverso AdWords, un servizio di hosting senza alcun controllo sul contenuto delle informazioni immesse dagli utenti ai sensi dell'art. 16 D. Lgs. 70/03 (attuativo della Direttiva n. 2000/31/CE sul commercio elettronico). In tale situazione, rileva il Tribunale, da un lato Google non è tenuta a sorvegliare le inserzioni inserite dagli utenti secondo quanto espressamente previsto dall'art. 17 del medesimo D. Lgs.; dall'altro, nel caso di specie non erano nemmeno stati forniti elementi che indicassero che Google, una volta venuta a conoscenza dell'illecito, fosse rimasta inerte, avendo questa invece prontamente bloccato l'associazione delle inserzioni di SBC con il marchio in contestazione, peraltro  in assenza di un ordine dell'autorità.

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