Following on from a couple of discussions recently regarding the banning of ppc brand advertising for affiliates, for a couple of the companies mentioned in those threads, I noticed the following for searches on Yahoo UK:
Search for IBM computers and you get banner advertising from Dell
Search for Ladbrokes and you get banner advertising from William Hill
Assuming there is no mention of any trademark word in the ad or the site, I am therefore wondering if trademark owners actually have any legal rights as to which ads can run on any specific page - in particular, in the ppc section.
Presumably, there are two ways to look at this:
1 The page belongs to the search engine and they can run whatever ads they feel appropriate on the page in question - by specifying a keyword, the advertiser is in fact merely saying they would like their ad to run on a specific page.
2 The search term belongs to the trademark owner and this does legally determine what is allowed to be advertised on any particular page.
Looking at the examples from Yahoo and the way law seems to run in traditional print media, I would be inclined to come down on the side of the first argument, but would be interested in other opinions.