Permitted Trade Mark Usage as Google AdText

Google AdWords Policy Change for Australia

As reported in April 2013, Google amended its AdWords policy in Australia allowing a company to purchase a competitor’s trade mark as a keyword in order to trigger sponsored ads during Google searches.

Google has now gone one step further and allowed resellers and informational sites from 27 July 2014 to use trade marks in ad text in Australia and New Zealand under certain circumstances. Resellers can use a trade mark as ad text if the ad’s landing page is primarily dedicated to selling (or facilitating the sale of):

  1. goods or services corresponding to a trade mark or
  2. components, replacement parts, or compatible products relating to the goods or services of the trade mark.

The product or services must be the primary focus of the ad’s landing page. The landing page must provide a way to purchase the product or services OR display commercial information about the product or services. As a result, informational sites can use a trade mark as ad text if:

  1. the primary purpose of the ad’s landing page is to provide information about goods or services corresponding to the trade mark or
  2. the goods or services are the primary focus of the ad’s landing page.

Ads will not be permitted to run if:

  1. the ad’s landing page does not facilitate the sale of either (i) the goods or services or (ii) parts or components related to the goods or services corresponding to the trade mark
  2. they are using the trade mark in a competitive way, including ads selling or facilitating the sale of goods or services of a competitor of the trade mark owner or
  3. the ad’s landing page does not provide substantive information about the goods or services corresponding to the trade mark.

This is an expansion of Google’s ‘Reseller and Informational Site Policy’ to Australia, which initially only applied to the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Ireland. Trade Marks owners should be aware that the policy will not assist them in stopping unauthorised resellers from using a trade mark in ad text. As long as the ad’s landing page fulfils the requirements of the policy, Google will allow the ad to run in Australia.

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