The German Higher Regional Court of Celle recently decided that operators of internet websites who are the subject of a cease and desist order must also ensure that the infringing website content cannot be accessed via Internet search engines.

In the case in question, the Defendant had deleted the infringing content from its website but it was still accessible half a year later via Google since the site was still stored in the Google cache. The Higher Regional Court found a violation of the cease and desist order and the Defendant had to pay the contractual penalty requested by the Claimant. According to the court, the obligation to cease and desist includes removal of data not only from the website but also from the Google cache.

Operators and owners of websites should therefore keep in mind that in order to avoid paying a contractual penalty they must not only “clean” the website but also check whether the “old” website can still be accessed via search engines. If this is the case, a request for removal from the search engine cache must be made in due time in order to avoid a penalty. To minimize the risk, it is recommended to consider at least the most popular search engines such as "Google", "Yahoo" or "Bing".