Legal Blog

The “Right to Be Forgotten” Obligates Google to Remove Certain Search Results in Europe

20140517_LDD001_0Historically, individuals have had little control over their personal information after its publication online. Once a person’s data appears on the Internet, it tends to stay there, available to anyone who searches for it. That fact is starting to change overseas, as supporters of the contentious “right to be forgotten” are making inroads in Europe, where the concept has recently gained legal ground. Three months ago, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled against Google in a case brought by Spanish citizen Mario Costeja González. Costega, who complained that a Google search of his name brought up a link to an outdated article from 1998 mentioning a foreclosure he has since paid off, sought to remove the article from search results. Due to the ECJ decision, Google must now consider individuals’ requests to delete search results that contain personal information. Only searches associated with European IP addresses are subject to the law. The right to be forgotten has already impacted major media outlets, such as Wikipedia and BBC News, the latter of which reported this week that Google removed twelve BBC News stories from search. Meanwhile, the EU Parliament has approved a reform to its Data Protection Regulation infrastructure—its first since the original 1995 legislation—which would codify the right to be forgotten and impose stricter fines (five percent of global revenue, up to €100 million) on companies who do not comply. If you have any questions about the right to be forgotten, or any other issue involving Intellectual Property Law, please contact us. If you would like to know more about the Intellectual Property assets you possess click here to download our free IP Audit Review Checklist.

About Offit Kurman’s Intellectual Property Group

Offit Kurman’s Intellectual Property (IP) Group helps dynamic businesses and individuals to develop and protect their IP assets. We can help you through all stages of your IP matters – from concept through development, registration, licensing, marketing, renewals, enforcement and sales. Our comprehensive and strategic approach to IP protection is designed to maximize the value of your IP assets and minimize the related risks.

Our IP team can help you to protect your names, logos, inventions, lists, works and other intangible property – which you likely value as being among your most highly prized assets. We represent individuals, private businesses and public companies to develop IP protection plans of varying complexity which meet the specific needs of each client.

You can also connect with Offit Kurman via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn.