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Trademark Policy Google in relation to Ad Texts: Canada, UK en Ireland update!


As discussed below, Google decided that as from September 14th it will be possible for advertisers to select the trademark of a third party as a keyword. However, it remains possible to file a complaint with Google if the advertisement text related to the keyword may cause confusion among consumers and/or is misleading.  

Separately from the above-mentioned change in relation to the keywords, Google also announced a change in relation to the use of trademarks in the advertisement texts in Canada, Ireland and the UK.

Effective September 14th, Google will allow certain advertisers in those countries to use the trademark of a third party in their advertisement texts without having explicit approval from the trademark owner to use the trademark. Thus, resellers, sellers of component, replacement or compatible parts corresponding to the trademark and informational sites will be allowed to use the trademark in the advertisement texts.

Advertisement texts which are using the trademark in a competitive, critical or negative way will not be allowed. In that case it is still possible to file a complaint with Google.

In the USA the above-mentioned advertisement policy already affected advertisers. As from September 14th, this policy will be extended to Canada, Ireland and the UK.

Please note that the new advertisement policy will not be expanded to the rest of Europe. Google will still investigate complaints in those countries in relation to the use of trademarks in advertisement texts without the consent of the trademark owner. [2]

In case you would like to receive some further information about Google’s policy change do not hesitate to contact us!

[2] Please note that in the latest AdWords case Portakabin v. Primakabin (C-558/08) the ECJ ruled that while use of another’s trademark can be prohibited under trademark law, in case of a reseller the advertiser may have the defense of exhaustion of trademark rights.