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Google pulls global trigger on trade mark ad use policy!

25 March 2013

Google has amended its policy enabling advertisers to choose any trade mark term to trigger their advert onto consumers’ screens. In 2008 advertisers needed the owner’s permission to use trade mark keywords but in 2010 Google amended its policy allowing retailers unconnected with a trade marked brand to use the trade mark in AdWords ads provided they had a loose connection, such as selling the trade marked brands’ products.

This latest change might have followed Google’s success in the Australian High Court where it was found not to have misled or deceived the public by publishing ads in which advertisers used rivals’ names.

The policy states Google will still “investigate and may restrict the use of a trade mark within ad text”, but what security does that offer to trade mark owners if consumers have already been led to the advert?

This will not stop trade mark owners enforcing their rights against advertisers, who should seek advice before choosing keywords and creating ads, especially if they’re intending on using other brands’ trade marks.

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