Brand reputation has always been (and always will be) a major concern for most businesses when it comes to marketing, and your paid search activity should be no different. However, with more competitors on the landscape than ever before, as well as the issue many retailers face with resellers undercutting them, Google has always maintained a strict approach in ensuring its advertisers toe the line.
Therefore we have produced this handy guide on how to avoid falling foul of Google’s trademark infringement policies, as well as what to do if you have a genuine reason or need to use a trademark in your ad messaging.
Rules, rules & more rules!
All advertisers have to agree to follow AdWords’ general advertising policies when they create an account, which covers everything from legal issues and data collection to dishonest behaviour. Therefore any officially trademarked brand name or term is offered the same protection as in any other form of advertising – that is to say, if you don’t own it, you can’t use it!
If you own the trademark…
Provided that you have an officially-registered trademark and that you’re advertising in countries which your trademark covers, in theory, you should be protected from unscrupulous advertisers using your brand name in their ad messaging. Consequently, if you spot your trademarked term being used in another advertisers’ ads you can submit a complaint form to Google. This will allow you to register your trademark and control how it is used in the future.
Sound simple? Unfortunately there are a few terms and conditions…
- Resellers – it gets slightly more complicated when it comes to the minefield that is resellers. Even if you spot an unauthorised reseller using your brand name, Google believes that “the right approach is to give users more choices and access to as much information as is relevant to their search or interest”. Therefore, they will allow the reseller’s ad to run in certain regions.
- Keywords – there are no set rules to blocking someone from bidding on your brand name, even if it is a registered trademark.
If you want to use the trademark…
There are always exceptions to the rule, and sometimes you may be more than happy for another advertiser to use your trademark in their ad messaging (collaborations, for example). This is relatively simple to sort and involves the trademark owner submitting a trademark authorisation form to Google to allow your AdWords account to use the trademarked term in their ads.
If you’re the advertiser who needs to use a trademarked term yet do not know who you need to contact from the other company, get in touch with Google and they can let you know.
If there’s been a mistake…
Sometimes you can fall foul of the trademark infringement policy unwittingly (this can happen most commonly if you have multilingual ad messaging in your account). As all these cases are unique, the easiest way to remain disapproval-free is to contact Google to see if they will override the trademark disapproval. If it keeps happening, your Google representative should be able to apply an authorisation to your account for that specific term.
To find out more information about AdWords and trademarks, contact us today!