In case you missed it, Google Ads has announced major changes to its trademark policy.
On Thursday, Google emailed advertisers who have currently filed a trademark complaint with Google about the upcoming policy updates. Because the email announcement was sent to select advertisers who had filed an active complaint, Kirk Williams took note Twitter to warn other advertisers in the industry.
What is changing in the Trademark Policy?
According to Google, significant changes will take effect on July 24, 2023. Specifically, Google explained:
Effective July 24, 2023, we will only accept and resolve trademark complaints against specific advertisers and/or ads, and not against all advertisers in the brand owner’s industry.
The migration to the new policy system will be gradual over time as new trademark complaints are filed under the new policy.
All trademark restrictions introduced before July 24 will be phased out most advertisers in the next 12-18 months.
What is not affected by the new policy
Williams shared in more detail in a LinkedIn post what will not change under the updated policy:
To break it down in detail, these specific policies have not changed and are still applicable:
- Advertisers in the US and EU can still bid on trademarked keywords. You may not use any competitor’s trademarks in the ad text.
- Some countries in the EU may not allow the promotion of trademarked keywords. Other countries have recently allowed it in recent years.
What this means for advertisers
The new policy states that for new complaints, brand complaints will be handled against specific advertisers or ads, not everyone in the brand owner’s industry.
When new trademark complaints are filed, Google only investigates the specific advertisers that the trademark owner is watching.
Ginny Marvin, Google Ads Liason, further elaborated on the impact this is having on advertisers via Twitter.
As part of this new process, you can continue to file complaints at the advertiser level. This should also reduce over-tagging and eliminate the need for brand owners to constantly tag when approving new accounts (including their own) to use their brand
– AdsLiaison (@adsliaison) June 8, 2023
Marvin went on to explain the efficiencies expected with the new policy:
- Complaints can still be submitted at the advertiser level
- Overflag reduction
- Brand owners don’t have to constantly indicate when they want to allow new accounts to use their brand.
It is speculated that more prominent and well-known brands will be hit the hardest and should be on guard. In the short term, filing new complaints after July 24 could create additional administrative burden.
Further speculation in the Twitter thread provided valid arguments for using standard branding terms such as “iPhone” or “iPad” in the ad text. Until the trademark owner files a complaint.
If you’re an advertiser who has already filed a trademark complaint, keep an eye out for potential new defendants over the next 12-18 months.
For advertisers bidding on competitive terms, bidding on branded keywords is still acceptable. Including the name of another brand owner in your ads is still an infringement.
The entire Google policy can be found here: https://support.google.com/adspolicy/answer/6118?hl=en.
Many thanks to Kirk Williams for spotting the policy update and to Ginny Marvin for providing additional clarification for advertisers.
Featured image: Olivier Le Moal/Shutterstock