Changes to Google’s Trademark Policy

Sonya Wood - June 15, 2009

Google now allows certain trademark terms to be used in ad copy for sponsored listings, even if you do not own the trademark. In the past, trademark terms were allowed only as keywords and but not in the ad copy. Ads previously were disapproved if they were found to violate the policy relating to the use of trademarks.

The reason for this change is to improve not only ad quality, but also user experience. According to Google, “Google’s goal is to provide our users with the most relevant information, whether from search results or advertisements, and we believe users benefit from having more choice.”

Using branded terms in ad copy allows advertisers to create ad copy targeted to particular products, services and inventory. For example, if you sell different brands of cameras, you can bid on the keywords and create ad copy for those products. Writing specific ad copy will decrease the amount of generic ads that show up when trademark terms are searched. This enables searchers to quickly find which advertisers have the exact products they are looking for.

If your ads have previously been disapproved due to trademark restrictions, you may want to re-submit them. Ads using trademark terms become effective on June 15. For advertisers who have Google Alerts set up for their trademark terms, an increase in the use of trademark terms may occur. As always, be sure to monitor your trademark terms carefully to ensure they adhere to the new criteria and are not being used inappropriately.

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