Australia's High Court has cleared search giant Google in a deceptive advertisements case ruling that the company is not responsible for the content of third-party advertisements shown in web searches.
The ruling concludes a six-year legal dispute between the search engine and the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC), which alleged sponsored links or advertisements were main revenue sources for Google.
Australian Competition & Consumer Commission tookGoogle to court alleging that adverts using keywords for companies diverted consumers to rival firms.
The High Court of Australia said in its ruling that the Google search engine displayed two types of search results upon requests from users - 'organic search results' and 'sponsored links'.
"Ordinary and reasonable members of the relevant class of consumers who might be affected by the alleged conduct would have understood that sponsored links were advertisements and would not have understood Google to have endorsed or to have been responsible in any meaningful way for the content of those advertisements.," the High Court said.
Proceedings against the search engine commenced in 2007, claiming that Google users were deceived into thinking that ads displayed on its results pages were 'organic' and not sponsored links.
The regulator also alleged that certain sponsored links had been misleading as they featured the names or URLs of the advertisers' rivals.