BrandVerity tipped me off to news that Google has modified its AdWords trademark policy to allow bidding on trademarked terms in 190 new countries. The policy is in line with the same trademark policy that we have in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland.
I asked Google for a comment on this change, which went into place yesterday. Google said:
Yesterday, we announced an upcoming change to our trademark complaint procedure for AdWords in many regions around the world – a full list can be found here. This change was already made in the US and Canada in 2004 and the UK & Ireland in 2008. Advertisers have one month’s notice to prepare. As of June 4th, Google will no longer investigate complaints relating to the use of trademarks as keywords by AdWords advertisers. This means that in the affected regions, a company advertising on Google will be able to select trademarked terms as keywords, and a user searching with a trademarked keyword may see a greater number of relevant ads in the sponsored links section, giving them greater choice.
Google’s goal is to provide our users with the most relevant information, from both search results and advertising. We are making this change because we want to give users greater choice and to help them make informed decisions.
The countries that this trademark policy does not apply to are Australia, Cyprus, Hungary, New Zealand, South Korea, Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Bahamas, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Finland, Lithuania, Portugal, Switzerland, Brazil, France, Luxembourg, Romania, Taiwan, Bulgaria, Germany, Macau, Slovakia, China, Greece, Netherlands, and Slovenia.