Skip to content

Internet Explorer is no longer supported by this website.

For optimal browsing we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Safari.


Trademark Protection in Google Ads

Businesses around the world are taking advantage of online advertising solutions such as Google ads. Google ads allow businesses to customize, budget, and target ads for their products or services through Google’s search engine and various partnered sites. Google displays the highest-paying ads at the top of the search engine results page. Luckily, Google policy prevents advertisers from unauthorized use of registered trademarks in any part of a posted ad, including the URL, headline, or description, unless the site is an authorized reseller or information site.

Trademark protection, however, is more complex when it comes to the logistics behind the population of these ads. Google’s enhanced targeting program allows businesses to bid on search terms or phrases, called “keywords,” to match paid ads with terms that users type into the search engine. While Google’s targeting program can be a beneficial tool for businesses to budget and control the scope of their ads, Google keywords may be a nightmare for trademark owners. One reason is that Google’s policy allows businesses to bid on their competitors’ brand names or trademarks as keywords in efforts to advertise against them.

Be careful what you bid for

Often, businesses place high bids on their competitors’ trademarks or brand names as keywords to try to manipulate and steer Internet traffic away from their competitors’ sites and onto their own. While trademark owners have sought to prevent the unauthorized use of their marks as keywords, it is well settled in United States law that there is no recourse by way of trademark infringement for bidding or selling trademarked words to use as keywords in online advertising. Thus, to remain competitive and benefit from your brand, you should make sure that you are bidding on the keywords of your own trademarked term or phrases to maintain your Internet traffic.

Happy bidding!

Category: Intellectual Property, Trademarks