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Google to amend and harmonize AdWord policy in UK and EU from 14 September 2010

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It has just been announced by Google that it will be changing its AdWords trade mark policy across the EU as of 14 September 2010.

It has just been announced by Google that it will be changing its AdWords trade mark policy across the EU as of 14 September 2010.

As we anticipated in our IP news bulletin of 23 March 2010 following the landmark decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) earlier that day, after almost 6 months Google has taken the step of introducing a harmonized policy for the entire EU.

Under the new policy Google states that trade mark owners will be able to complain about the selection of their trade mark by a third party if they feel that it leads to a specific advert which confuses users about the origin of the advertised goods and services. Google will then conduct a limited investigation and if Google finds that the advert text does confuse users as to the origin of the advertised goods and services, it will remove the advert. However, Google will not prevent the use of any trade marks as keywords anywhere in the EU after 14 September 2010. Any trade marks that are currently prevented by Google from being used as keywords in any EU countries as a result of a trade mark complaint and investigation will no longer be restricted in the affected regions as of 14 September 2010.

As for which sort of adverts will be considered by Google to be, or not to be, confusing, Google says that it will permit the following:

adverts using a trade marked term in a descriptive or generic way, such as not in reference to the term as a trade mark;

adverts for competing products or services;

adverts for informational sites about a product or service corresponding to the trade mark;

adverts for resale of the trade marked goods or services;

adverts for the sale of components, replacement parts, or compatible products corresponding to a trade mark.

If you would like further information or advice in relation to Google\'s revised policy or in relation to any other intellectual property issue you can contact the Clarion intellectual property team on +44 (0) 113 246 0622 or by Esther Kirwan at esther.kirwan@clarionsolicitors.com.