Targeting trademarked words in AdWords: European courts give okay

Google has won a court case in Europe that upholds the right of advertisers to show ads when someone searches on trademarked terms. This case does not address trademarked terms in ad language.

This is a big win for advertisers and, as we’ve said before, is consistent with fair use and the rules that apply to virtually every other form of advertising.

What this means for advertisers is that they can show ads when someone searches on brand names and other trademarked terms owned by competitors. It does not mean that they can use the trademarks in the ads. For example, a Honda dealership could show ads when someone searches on “Ford cars”, but they could not use “Ford” in the ad language that they show.

The court case upholds existing AdWords policies, so it is unlikely that advertisers will need to make any changes to their campaigns.

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