The full Federal Court of Australia [official website] ruled Tuesday that Google Inc. [corporate website] engaged in advertising practices that were deceptive and misleading, resulting in a violation of the country's consumer protection laws. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) [official website] brought the case against Google challenging an advertising practice where advertisements were generated that indicated that by clicking on the link the user would be led to information about a competitor, but actually linked to the advertiser's website. The full court's ruling followed a lower court decision which found that Google did not violate the country's consumer protection laws in the 11 advertisements identified by the ACCC. The ACCC appealed [press release] the lower court's ruling on four of the contested advertisements. According to the full court, the advertising practice was likely to deceive or mislead consumers searching for information on the competitor, in violation of Section 52 of the Trade Practices Act of 1974 [text, PDF]. Google was ordered by the court to put in place a consumer compliance program, and the pay the ACCC's cost of the appeal. ACCC chairman Rod Simms indicated that this was an important ruling for protecting consumers stating, "[t]his is an important outcome because it makes it clear that Google and other search engine providers which use similar technology to Google will be directly accountable for misleading or deceptive paid search results." Google representatives have indicated that they are disappointed by the court's ruling, and that they believe advertisers should be held responsible [WSJ report] for the content of their advertising.