New Adwords trademark policy: Are you affected?

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zabbo

New Member
AdWords Trademark Policy Revision (UK and Ireland)
What’s changing in AdWords Trademark Policy? When?
Google has made a policy revision that applies to complaints we receive regarding trademarks in the UK and Ireland. For complaints received on or after Friday, April 4, 2008, we will no longer review a term corresponding to the trademarked term as a keyword trigger. However, we will continue to perform a limited courtesy investigation of complaints regarding ad text purported to be in violation of a trademark.
Beginning May 5, 2008, keywords that were disabled as a result of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted in the UK and Ireland.
Why did Google change its trademark policy?
We want advertisers to use keywords that are most relevant to their business and our user’s interests. Google's goal is to provide our users with the most relevant information, whether it is from our search results or advertisements. A key to achieving this goal with our ads is providing relevant choices and giving users the opportunity to determine which ads they find most relevant.
Who’s affected by the policy change?
Google’s revised trademark policy applies to trademarks held in the UK and Ireland. We will continue to handle trademark complaints for all other countries pursuant to the existing trademark policy.
Interesting stuff, I think most affiliates are protected as they normally cover PPC terms in the contract, but in terms of competition on trademarks and branding it's more open, especially on product name search queries.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
I'm not happy about the change. It means more legal costs
 

gav240z

New Member
I personally don't mind..

I personally don't mind, but the company I work for will hate it.
 

zabbo

New Member
I know a number of companies will hate it, but with the display URL updates as well, it should still mean that the trademark owners come out on top.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
I know a number of companies will hate it, but with the display URL updates as well, it should still mean that the trademark owners come out on top.
I don't see how.

Displaying the URL won't help
 

zabbo

New Member
If someone searches for Blacknight, and up pops your ad with the display URL set to blacknight.eu (bolded as it's the search term), you obviously have a healthy quality score as well. That should make you come out on top (high ctr/low cost)

Although I don't think you've ads running on your company name at the moment.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
If someone searches for Blacknight, and up pops your ad with the display URL set to blacknight.eu (bolded as it's the search term), you obviously have a healthy quality score as well. That should make you come out on top (high ctr/low cost)

Although I don't think you've ads running on your company name at the moment.
Fine, but what about the scumbags bidding on my TM?
 

zabbo

New Member
There are no advertisers running ads on your blacknight keyword at the moment. (Although that might change later ;))

I've already saw instances of competitor ads that I got removed, which are back in play now.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
Barry

That's because the new policy hasn't come into effect. At present usage of the keywords is blocked

Michele
 

zabbo

New Member
Looks like the ads I'm seeing were part of a pending investigation.

So May 5th onwards is open season.

If for example, I wanted to bid on blacknight, you can raise a complaint as normal but the ad will only be removed if the trademark term is in the ad copy. Note: it can still be used as an ad trigger (where previously it couldn't)

Complaint Procedure document has been updated - AdWords Trademark Complaint Procedure
 

zabbo

New Member
I think thats the reason why this revision has been made, so that these challenges can be made directly, instead of using Google as a mini courtroom for trademark disputes.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
Sorry, but that's bull

Google control adwords

I have a trademark "word"
Google can easily block usage of that TM

Basically they're changing the policy because they can make more money this way.
 

zabbo

New Member
Not really Michele, I'm referring to the complaints procedure for the UK & Ireland. The new policy is already in place in USA/Canada were trademark infringements are subjection to legal action, but keyword triggering is for the most part fine.

Back on the previous example, lets say I put an ad were I attempt to confuse 'blacknight' searchers into clicking on my ad, your legal action is with me, and not Google, where before Google had a complaints procedure.

This way, it makes the market more open, reduces Googles involvement and overhead in dealing with complains, which probably does increase their revenue.

BTW, most complaints I've had previously usually came by a solicitors letter, and not through Googles complaint procedure, in some cases the company didn't have the exact term registered as a trademark.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
I'd have to disagree with you.

The only reason Google are doing this here is because they think they can get away with it, whereas they've already had legal challenges in other countries.

Google are basically encouraging people to infringe on trademarks and since they aren't exactly transparent it makes it really awkward to police
 

zabbo

New Member
Well perhaps I can't see it fully from your point of view, but it will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

On the plus side, doesn't it open up more affiliate opportunities :)
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
I'll be talking to our trademark lawyer again today to see what the best strategy to adopt is. It's not a nice move at all.

No evil? Yeah, right
 

zabbo

New Member
Interesting story here - Trademark lawsuit could put the squeeze on Google AdWords

The parties disagreed about whether Google labels its ads sufficiently clearly to avoid customer confusion. Rescuecom alleged that by placing sponsored ads directly above the organic search results and by using the ambiguous phrasing "Sponsored Links" rather than the more direct "Paid Advertising," Google was stoking customer confusion, which it then profited from when customers mistakenly clicked on ads they thought were organic search results.
 

mneylon

Administrator
Staff member
I've emailed our US lawyer who has plenty of experience in this area to see what the best course of action is, but it's pretty much open season.
 
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