Rules for Trademarks in Paid Search Ads


Paid search advertising is often a perfect tool for businesses when executed properly, This puts the company in front of individuals who are searching for what the particular company is offering at the moment when they are ready to purchase.

Paid search is surely a good tool, but it gets annoying when one sees a competitor on the top spot of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) using his trademark. Trademarks infringement occurs when a  corporation or person uses a trademark (or equivalent trademark) of the trademark owner without permission. This usage is in trade, which means that it is done in relation to the selling or promotion of products or services. Such usage can confuse customers with the source, endorsement, or affiliation of the products or services. And therefore, trademarks concerning the use of paid search ads have some ground rules. 

Here, we will see the trademark rules in paid search advertising and address in depth the various forms of advertisements that usually violate search engine rules. 

Trademarks in Google Ads

Licensed trademarks make advertising and referencing your own name in the text of your ad copy perfect. 

But if you are a manufacturer and you market on third-party items, it becomes a little more difficult. Only if the primary aim of the ad landing page is to provide informative information about goods or services corresponding to the trademark can a retailer include multiple brand names together.

According to Google, you are not allowed to use trademarks under: 

  1. Advertisements that refer to the brand for strategic purposes. 
  2. Ads with landing pages that enable users to provide detailed information before commercial information is shown. 
  3. Advertisements that are vague as to whether the seller is a reseller or an information location.

What’s Allowed? 

  1. Bidding (whether yours or a competitor’s) on brand keywords 
  2. Having the brand name of a rival in the ad show URL. It’s fair game if you’re bidding on the brand keywords of a rival, just don’t say these as your own.

It is better to move according to Google policies than to regret it later.

Trademarks in Microsoft Advertising

The guidelines for Microsoft advertisement trademarks are almost identical to Google’s. There are examples below where you are free to use trademarks: 

  1. Usage of a trademark for a genuine product or services reseller 
  2. Websites with information on products or services, such as product reviews 
  3. Regular usage of a word in the dictionary (for example cleaning windows) 
  4. Comparative ads

Trademark Rules in Facebook 

Trademark legislation typically aims to prohibit customers from being confused as to who supplies, endorses, or is associated with a specific product or service. A trademark owner can, in order to avoid this situation, be able to prohibit anyone from using their trademark (or a similar trademark) without permission if the usage can create confusion. Under Facebook’s terms of service and community guidelines, you can only upload material to Facebook if it doesn’t breach anyone else’s intellectual property rights, including trademarks.

According to Facebook, It’s acceptable to include ‘iPhone’ in your ad copy text or even include a picture of an iPhone if you sell it,  but you must hold back from using the ‘Apple’ logo in your picture of the merchant website.

The same applies to Instagram as Facebook owns it.

Trademarks in Twitter Advertising

According to Twitter, it is not a breach of copyright if you are: 

Using a trademark in a manner that is beyond the scope of registration of a trademark, e.g. in a region other than that defined in the registration, or in a class of products or services other than that identified in the registration; and use of a trademark in a manner of nominative or other equal use. 

However, Twitter prohibits the advertising of trademark infringing content globally if infringing material for trademarks includes: 

  1. Material that misleads consumers about the brand affiliation of the advertiser. 
  2. Links, pictures, or other embedded media that could generate user doubt about the brand affiliation of the advertiser. 
  3. Promoted trend names that use third-party names in a way that could confuse users about the brand affiliation of the advertiser.

Trademarks problems with paid search ads cause delays to your campaign if you attempt to run on trademarked terms and also cause problems if your trademarked terms are breached by other advertisers. This can be bad for any company. Sometimes, the advertisements are not allowed to run and you could also be found accountable in court and face an expensive legal battle.

Keep an eye on the actions of your rivals and track any ‘foul play’ with Vakilsearch. Within your paid and organic methods, there are also different steps you may take to mitigate any negative impacts on your company from rivals lawfully bidding on your trademarked keywords. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *