Google has announced an update to its AdWords trademark policy that streamlines the rules on using third-party trademark keywords in campaigns. With the update, Google now has a consistent global policy that allows advertisers to bid on competitor third-party trademark keywords. The update states:
“Starting on 23 April 2013, keywords that were restricted as a result of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted in China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil.
While we will not prevent the use of trademarks as keywords in the affected regions, trademark owners will still be able to complain about the use of their trademark in ad text.”
Note the second sentence. This update pertains to bidding on trademark keywords only. The rules restricting the use of trademark terms in ad copy remain in place.
Advertisers running AdWords campaigns in the affected regions — China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil — can now follow the policy that is already in place in all other regions worldwide.
However, in lieu of several court cases, including the closely watched UK case Interflora vs. Marks and Spencer, which has moved on to the High Court, Google aims to cover itself regarding the use of competitor or other third-party trademark keywords in campaigns. The company essentially states that just because we say you can do this, we’re not telling you that you should:
Does this mean that I can now use trademark terms as keywords?
Google is not in a position to make recommendations regarding the use of terms corresponding to trademarks. If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact your legal counsel and consult the AdWords Terms and Conditions.
Beginning April 23rd, keywords that were restricted in the affected regions as part of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted and may start triggering ads.