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Google has made a policy revision that applies to complaints we receive regarding trademarks in the UK and Ireland. For complaints received on or after Friday, April 4, 2008, we will no longer review a term corresponding to the trademarked term as a keyword trigger. However, we will continue to perform a limited courtesy investigation of complaints regarding ad text purported to be in violation of a trademark.
Beginning May 5, 2008, keywords that were disabled as a result of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted in the UK and Ireland.
Full details are available at the link. The new policy is in line with the trademark keyword & ad text rules for US & Canada.
Assuming the word "brand" was trademarked by "Company A"...
Before Apr 4:
- Company A could control who was allowed to use the term "brand" as part of a keyword
- Company A could control who was allowed to use the term "brand" as part of the ad text
As of Apr 4:
- Company A cannot control who is allowed to use the term "brand" as part of a keyword
- Company A can still control who is allowed to use the term "brand" as part of the ad text
(The above applies to ads on Google shown in the UK and Ireland.)
[edited by: Rehan at 3:34 pm (utc) on April 4, 2008]
Post 5th May this will not be the case - you will be allowed to bid on competitor brand terms.
IMHO there are a number of brand names that are treated like generics by consumers (I'm thinking stuff like "#*$!#*$! ink cartridges" or "#*$!#*$! mp3 player"). By blocking these terms the manufacturers essentially can wrangle control of the online market, and I think that its beneficial to allow bidding on these terms. Its just a shame that you still can't use those terms in the ad copy.
However for retailer brands like Amazon I see very little advantage to the consumer by allowing brand bidding. Instead I think it will make things more confusing.