Google has revised its AdWords trade mark policy which is
currently in place in Australia, Hong Kong, China, Macau, Taiwan,
New Zealand, South Korea and Brazil and these changes will come
into effect on 23 April 2013. From this date, Google will no longer
remove third party advertisements which are triggered by keywords
purchased for a competitor's trade mark, unless the trade mark
appears in the text of the resulting advertisement.
Google AdWords are key words which are available for purchase
through Google. When a person conducts a Google search using a
keyword which has been purchased by a trader, then the trader's
website and a small advertisement will appear in the sponsored link
section on the search results page.
Under the current Google AdWords complaint procedure, if a
competitor is using your trade mark without your approval as a
keyword as part of its Google AdWords program then you can file a
complaint with Google to have the advertisement removed. For
instance, to take a hypothetical example if Hugo Boss was to
purchase "Gucci" as a key word so that a sponsored link
for Hugo Boss appeared when a consumer conducted a Google search
using the search term "Gucci", Gucci could have the
sponsored link removed through the Google AdWords complaint
procedure. This is the case whether or not the word
"Gucci" appears in the advertisement within the sponsored
link section of the search results or not.
From 23 April 2013, Google will no longer accept complaints on
this basis. The effect of this change is that a company can
purchase a competitor's trade mark as a keyword to have its
advertisements displayed as a sponsored link where a consumer
searches using this keyword as long as the competitor's trade
mark does not appear in the advertisement itself. Any
investigations acted on by Google prior to 23 April 2013 will no
longer apply to the relevant keywords after this date.
It is important to note that Google will still continue to
monitor companies using a competitor's trade mark as part of
the advertisement displayed as a sponsored link. Therefore, if you
find that a competitor is using your trade mark as part of an
advertisement displayed as a sponsored link, then you can continue
to use the Google AdWords complaint procedure to have these
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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