The other day we wrote about Google announcing a new policy that would allow advertisers to buy trademarked keywords. We also wrote about a class action suit that was filed this week against Google for similar conduct.
Today Google went a step further and announced that not only can you buy keywords for trademarked terms, but you can under certain circumstances, advertisers can now use trademarked terms in the text of there ad, which represents a major shift in policy for Google.
Here is the full announcement:
“”””Imagine opening your Sunday paper and seeing ads from a large supermarket chain that didn’t list actual products for sale; instead, they simply listed the categories of products available – offers like “Buy discount cola” and “Snacks on sale.” The ads wouldn’t be useful since you wouldn’t know what products are actually being offered. For many categories of advertisers, this is the problem they have faced on Google for some time.
That is why, in an effort to improve ad quality and user experience, we are adjusting our trademark policy in the U.S. to allow some ads to use trademarks in the ad text. This change will bring Google’s policy on trademark use in ad text more in line with the industry standard. Under certain criteria, you can use trademark terms in your ad text in the U.S. even if you don’t own that trademark or have explicit approval from the trademark owner to use it.
This change will help you to create more narrowly targeted ad text that highlights your specific inventory.
For example, under our old policy, a site that sells several brands of athletic shoes may not have been able to highlight the actual brands that they sell in their ad text. However, under our new policy, that advertiser can create specific ads for each of the brands that they sell. We believe that this change will help both our users and advertisers by reducing the number of overly generic ads that appear across our networks in the U.S.
Please note that this policy update will only apply to ads served in the U.S. on Google.com and to U.S. users on the Search and Content Networks. Also, while we will start accepting new ads that contain trademark terms as of 11am PST on May 15th, those ads will not begin showing until June 15th.
If you have ads in your account which were previously disapproved for trademark policy and that comply with the new policy, you may submit those ads for re-review and eligible ads may begin showing in the U.S. starting June 15th. For instructions on editing your ad text, click here.
In order to help advertisers understand whether their landing pages meet our policy guidelines we’ve added some new functionality to our Search Based Keyword Tool. If you visit www.google.com/sktool and enter your website URL, you may see a list of brands on the left side of the page if your site contains those brands. When you click on any of those brands you’ll notice a column titled “Extracted from webpage.” Those landing pages may be opportunities for you to show re-sale or informational ads.
We believe that this change will offer you the opportunity to provide users with more relevant information, choice and options while respecting the interests of trademark owners.
For more detail on our updated trademark policy in the U.S., please visit the FAQ in our Help Center.”””
Google has also published their trademark policy which is as follows:
As a provider of space for advertisements, please note that Google is not in a position to arbitrate trademark disputes between the advertisers and trademark owners. As stated in our Terms and Conditions, the advertisers themselves are responsible for the keywords and ad content that they choose to use. Accordingly, we encourage trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with the advertisers, particularly because the advertisers may have similar advertisements on other sites.
As a courtesy to trademark owners, however, we are willing to perform a limited investigation of reasonable complaints about use of trademarks in ads. In the US, our policy permits use of the trademark in the ad text in the following circumstances:
- Ads which use the term in a descriptive or generic way, and not in reference to the trademark owner or the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term.
- Ads which use the trademark in a nominative manner to refer to the trademark or its owner, specifically:
- Resale of the trademarked goods or services: The advertiser’s site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the goods or services corresponding to a trademark term. The landing page of the ad must clearly demonstrate that a user is able to purchase the goods or services corresponding to a trademark from the advertiser.
- Sale of components, replacement parts or compatible products corresponding to a trademark: The advertiser’s site must sell (or clearly facilitate the sale of) the components, replacement parts or compatible products relating to the goods or services of the trademark. The advertiser’s landing page must clearly demonstrate that a user is able to purchase the components, parts or compatible products corresponding to the trademark term from the advertiser.
- Informational sites: The primary purpose of the advertiser’s site must be to provide non-competitive and informative details about the goods or services corresponding to the trademark term. Additionally, the advertiser may not sell or facilitate the sale of the goods or services of a competitor of the trademark owner.