Federal Appeals Court Allows Keyword Bidding On Competitor’s Names

paidContent reports a California federal court ruled that it is allowed to bid on a competitor’s name for search ads.

The ruling was done in an appeals court in the case between Network Automation and Advanced Systems Concepts. Both companies sell scheduling and management software and Network Automation purchased the keyword “ActiveBatch,” a trademarked product of Advanced Systems Concepts on the Google and Bing search ad networks. Advanced Systems Concepts sued Network Automation and won in court, but that was overturned in appeals court.

The reason the appeals court overturned the original decision was because the lower court did not take into account the landing page nor the ads being sectioned off and labeled as ads. Due to those facts, the appeals court felt there was no confusion as to the ad.

I should note that both Google AdWords and now even Microsoft adCenter share the same trademark rules, allowing advertisers to bid on trademark keywords, in many cases. Plus, advertisers can use the trademarked text in their ad, again – in many cases.

You can read Google’s official AdWords trademark policy as well. For the full court ruling, see this PDF document, courtesy of Gary Price.

Related Stories:

Related Topics: Channel: SEM | Google: AdWords | Google: Legal | Legal: Trademarks


About The Author: is Search Engine Land's News Editor and owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry's personal blog is named Cartoon Barry and he can be followed on Twitter here. For more background information on Barry, see his full bio over here.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.

Comments are closed.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide