*Translation issue – Primakabin

When reading the English version of the Reference for a Preliminary Ruling on the Primakabin case (C-558/08) published in the Official Journal of the EU, I was very surprised as first question 1(a) of the document reads like this:

“…a reference to the advertiser’s website appears either [1] in the list of web-pages found or [2] as an advertisement on the right-hand side of the page showing the results of the search, under the heading “Sponsored Links” which is…”

Strictly following the logic of this text the Dutch court apparently assumes that we’ve got a case of Keyword Buying here, as the advertisements are not marked as such an mixed with the search results.

The Austrian OGH has actually been using a very similar argument since its Wein&Co decision in 2007, and has asked the ECJ in its first subquestion of Prelim. Ruling Bergspecht if Top-Ads (advertisement shown above the organic search results) should be seen as part of the search result or as advertisemtens.

As the view of the Dutch court still surprised me quite a lot I decided also to read also the German version of the same document, which reads like this:

Wird in die Suchmaschine ein solcher Suchbegriff eintetippt, so erscheint” (if such a keyword is entered into the search engine) [1]eine Verweisung auf die Webseite des Anzeigenkungen” (a link to the advertisers website), “oder” (or) [2]eine Liste mit gefundenen Seiten” (list of search results), “oder auch” (or furthermore) [3]eine Anzeige rechts auf der Seite mit den Ergebnissen unter der Überschrift” (or an advertisement on the right side of the site of the search results under the heading)

So, in my understanding the German version sees three(!) different parts, which are separated in the text (trough three “oder“), while the Dutch version sees just two options (separated by two “or“).

So, does anyone here speak Dutch so that we can find out if the Dutch Court sees the (Top-) ads as part of the list of (organic) search results?

Picture 1

Thank you!

German version of the reference
English version of the reference
Dutch version of the reference

1 Response to “*Translation issue – Primakabin”


  1. 1 Christina 03/06/2009 at 16:46

    Well, unfortunately, I am not a native Dutch speaker, but I am (slowly) trying to learn the language. As far as I can tell, the original Dutch text is closer to the English translation. “Ofwel…ofwel” means “either…or”, so a translation into English would go like this:

    “Wordt in de zoekmachine zo’n adword ingetikt (When such an adword is typed into the search engine), dan verschijnt een verwijzing naar de website van de adverteerder (then a reference to the advertiser’s website appears) ofwel in de lijst met gevonden pagina’s (either in the list of webpages found), ofwel als advertentie rechts op de resultatenpagina onder het kopje “Gesponsorde koppelingen”.] (or as an advertisement on the right-hand side of the result page, under the heading ‘Sponsored links’)”

    Hope this helps!🙂


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