• Google Lifts Ban on Trademark Terms for Search Ads
  • June 22, 2009
  • Law Firm: Winston & Strawn LLP - Chicago Office
  • Google announced that it has changed its trademark policy for search ads to allow use of trademarks in ad text by advertisers other than the trademark owner. Google's AdWords system lets advertisers bid for placement of their ad messages as "sponsored links," which appear when certain words or phrases are entered into the search engine. Google's prior policy prohibited use of third-party trademarks in the ad text without the trademark owner's permission. The new policy now allows companies to use another's trademark in their ad text, although it does impose some restrictions, including a prohibition on use of a trademark in ad text where the ad links to a Web site that sells counterfeit goods, is for a retailer that primarily sells a competitor's products, criticizes the trademarked brand, or does not redirect to a landing page with a purchase option.

    TIP: Companies will now need to be more vigilant about a third-party's use of their trademarks on the Internet, since the level of protection Google previously provided is no longer available.