By 7 years ago in Google

Big changes to Google Adwords trademark policy

Google is making changes to their trademark policy to allow Adwords advertisers to bid on brand and trademark terms.

The rules allow keyword bidding for trademark terms but won’t allow advertisers to use the trademarked terms in the ad text.

The basic impact of this is that advertisers are going to be forced into PPC bidding wars if they want to maintain their place at the top of the sponsored results for brand related searches.

Good news however for any brands with sitelinks as they stand out enough to avoid using PPC.

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.

Here is what the new rules say:

When we receive a complaint from a trademark owner, we only investigate the use of the trademark in ad text. If the advertiser is using the trademark in ad text, we will require the advertiser to remove the trademark and prevent them from using it in ad text in the future. Please note that we will not disable keywords in response to a trademark complaint.

By Patrick Altoft. at 2:03PM on Friday, 04 Apr 2008

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.


  • Tom

    Wow – big changes indeed! Thanks for the heads up

  • Terra Andersen

    That’s really interesting.. thanks for sharing!

  • Ken Savage

    this is new in the UK now I guess.

    We’ve been following this for a few years now in the US. I report people often for my company when they use our trademark names in their ads.

  • Larry

    Question for anybody who can answer – I know that Google allows you to use trademarked terms as keywords, but how have the courts reacted? Can anyone give me a link or provide any information on relevant case law or court precedings involving suits for using trademarked terms as search terms?

  • Geoff Dodd

    Google states that we will not disable keywords in response to a trademark complaint. This would vary by jurisdiction. Remember Google was sued in France. And unscrupulous marketers will have a field day bidding on the trade marked terms of others? GD.