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Google gives UK trade mark owners the chance to stop trade mark abuse

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Today (14 September) Google will change its UK and EU policy enabling it to take action on complaints by trade mark owners whose trade marks are used by competitors to trigger adverts which mislead about the origin of the goods or services on offer.

Today (14 September) Google will change its UK and EU policy enabling it to take action on complaints by trade mark owners whose trade marks are used by competitors to trigger adverts which mislead about the origin of the goods or services on offer. 

However, trade mark owners should also be aware that in future Google will not stop any advertisers from using third-party trade marks to trigger adverts in general, regardless of whether they own those trade marks or have the approval of the trade mark owner.  Google will only remove adverts which are misleading.  IP experts at Leeds-based Clarion warn that companies must be aware of the new policy and understand its limits to ensure that their trade marks are not infringed to the detriment of their business.

“This latest change to Google’s policy does not give carte blanche for advertisers to use other companies’ trade marks at will.  Whilst it allows advertisers such as resellers, sellers of component, replacement or compatible parts, and informational sites, to feature third party trade marks in most cases in their actual advertising, it only allows a competitor of a trade mark owner the use the owners’ trade mark to trigger an advert if that advert does not mislead about the origin of the goods or services advertised, ” explains Leigh Martin, partner at Clarion and head of its IP practice.

“Following the landmark decision of the Court of European Justice in March which allowed other business’ trade marks to be used as keywords by third parties, we expected the search engine provider to harmonise its AdWord policy across the EU, and this is what it is now doing.

“It is important that companies are aware that there is now an opportunity for redress in the UK if they feel that the use of their trade mark by a third party in a specific advert confuses users about the origin of the advertised goods or services.  There is a procedure for the making and investigation of trade mark complaints through Google on a case by case basis and the offending advert will be removed by Google if they agree that it is confusing.”

Mr Martin continues: “However, it is equally important to note that after 14th September, Google will not prevent the use of any trade marks as keywords anywhere in the EU, even those which are currently prevented by Google in other EU countries as a result of a previous trade mark complaint.”

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For further press information, please contact:

Susan Reid on (01423) 56 99 99 or susan@appealpr.com