Internet search giant Google has won a legal battle with the competition watchdog over claims it engaged in misleading or deceptive advertising.
The High Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled in favour of Google's appeal against an earlier ruling by the Federal Court that it had engaged in deceptive conduct that contravened the Trade Practices Act.
The advertisements in question involved the use of the name of car dealerships that were actually unrelated to the company that had paid for the sponsored links.
When users clicked on the ads, they were in fact directed to a competitor's website.
The High Court has ruled Google did not create the sponsored links it published or displayed, and users would have understood that the representations conveyed by the sponsored links were those of the advertisers, not Google.
"Accordingly, Google did not engage in conduct that was misleading or deceptive," the High Court said in a summary of its decision.
"It remains the case that all businesses involved in placing advertisements on search engines must take care not to mislead or deceive consumers," he said in a statement.