New AdWords Trademark Policy: Good news for resellers and others

Last year Google updated their AdWords trademark policy in the US.  The aim was to allow some non-trademark owners to use trademarks as keywords for their PPC advertising without having to get permission from the trademark owner.

As I predicted then, this policy has now been rolled out to the UK (as well as Ireland and Canada) and marks a further step in the gradual relaxation of the policy.

In summary if you sell a branded product, parts or more controversially a compatible product (e.g. a Canon compatible printer cartridge) then you can now use the trademark as a keyword and include the trademark in the advert text, all without getting permission from the trademark owner (e.g. Canon).  (More here from us and the official announcement)

As with all of the AdWords trademark policy bear in mind that the policy is designed to protect Google, not you the advertiser! i.e. the trademark owner may be able to sue you successfully, even if they can’t sue Google.  Case law is still developing on this and especially in light of the recent Portakabin case, I am seeing quite a few different legal interpretations around so care is still needed.

However we have a number of clients who will benefit from this change and we see little reason, not to take advantage of this.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 thoughts on “New AdWords Trademark Policy: Good news for resellers and others”

  1. Cabinguy says:

    Wasn’t there a recent ruling in the ECJ that found against Portakabin and in favour of Primakabin who were using the Portakabin trademark as keywords?

    • Tim Barlow says:

      Yes, there has been a recent ruling. Legal opinion seems somewhat divided on what this means:nn–insights/all-articles/corporate/clarity-on-google-adwords-and-trade-mark-infringement.aspxnnI’ve chatted to a couple of trademark lawyers on this one and it does seem that some traditional lawyers struggle to understand AdWords which may account for the degrees of confusion.nnI keen to get more legal insights on this case.n

Like the Brain? Sign up for the packed-full-of-tips monthly newsletter