Google France has lost an appeal against a French court ruling after it allowed advertisers to sponsor certain terms that are protected by registered trade marks, according to reports. The search engine must now pay €75,000 in damages and costs.

The case dates back to December 2002 when travel agencies Luteciel and Viaticum sued the company over the use of their trade marks bourse des vols (flight market) and bourse des voyages (travel market) as search terms in Google's AdWords service.

AdWords allows advertisers to sponsor particular search terms so that, whenever that term is searched for, the advertiser's link will appear next to the search results.

In October 2003, in one of the first rulings of its kind, the Lower Court of Nanterre found in favour of the travel agencies and ordered Google France to remove the disputed terms from AdWords within 30 days.

It also ordered the company to pay €70,000 in damages and €5,000 in court expenses, and prohibited the company from profiting in future from such use of the two marks on pain of a €1,500 fine per infringement.

Google France appealed the ruling but, according to reports, it lost.

Google's AdWords Service has been the subject of several other successful suits in the French courts. Most recently French luxury goods retailer Louis Vuitton won a suit brought against the search engine, resulting in Google France being fined €200,000 ($260,000), according to reports.