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Friday, 4 April 2008

Breaking news: Google changes its complaints procedure

The IPKat thanks his friend Chris McLeod (Hammonds; chairman of ITMA's Review Committee) for being the first to draw his attention to an email he has just received from Google's Advertising Legal Support Team:

"We're writing to inform you that we're changing our trademark complaint procedure in the UK and Ireland. This change may affect how we handle the trademark complaint you currently have on file with Google.

Right: the IPKat practises complaining ...

If you've submitted a complaint letter requesting that we prevent advertisers from using certain trademark terms anywhere in their ad text, we will continue our efforts to support your request. However, from May 5, 2008, our trademark complaint investigations will no longer result in Google monitoring or restricting keywords for ads served to users in the UK and Ireland. This will bring our procedure in line with the approach taken in the US and Canada. Complaints received on or after today will be processed under our revised procedure.

You do not need to file your trademark complaint with us again unless you would like to amend it based on the new guidelines. For more detailed information regarding our trademark complaint procedure, we invite you to review our revised complaint procedure, posted online at http://www.google.co.uk/tm_complaint.html.

To learn more about this trademark policy revision, please visit http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=92877&hl=en_US."

If you go to the link at the end of this email, you get this:

"... Google has made a policy revision that applies to complaints we receive regarding trademarks in the UK and Ireland. For complaints received on or after Friday, April 4, 2008, we will no longer review a term corresponding to the trademarked term as a keyword trigger. However, we will continue to perform a limited courtesy investigation of complaints regarding ad text purported to be in violation of a trademark.

Beginning May 5, 2008, keywords that were disabled as a result of a trademark investigation will no longer be restricted in the UK and Ireland.

Why did Google change its trademark policy? We want advertisers to use keywords that are most relevant to their business and our user’s interests. Google's goal is to provide our users with the most relevant information, whether it is from our search results or advertisements. A key to achieving this goal with our ads is providing relevant choices and giving users the opportunity to determine which ads they find most relevant.

Who’s affected by the policy change? Google’s revised trademark policy applies to trademarks held in the UK and Ireland. We will continue to handle trademark complaints for all other countries pursuant to the existing trademark policy.

What will happen to existing trademark complaints? -

Complaints received prior to April 4, 2008: We will investigate complaints against trademark use in ad text and keywords. Complaints will be processed according to the current policy.

Complaints received on or after April 4, 2008:If the complaint requests that we prevent use of the trademark in ad text, we will continue our efforts to support this request. Complaints will be processed under our revised procedure.

All Complaints: Beginning in May 2008, keywords that were disabled as a result of a trademark complaint and investigation will no longer be restricted in the UK and Ireland.

Will Google respond to any trademark complaints in relation to the UK and Ireland? Yes. With respect to the UK and Ireland, Google will perform limited courtesy investigations of reported trademark violations and complaints related to ad text.

What are your plans to extend this policy to additional countries? Local laws and business customs differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The revised policy applies to UK and Ireland only.

Will trademark terms in my account start triggering ads? Keywords that were disabled as a result of a trademark investigation may begin triggering your ads in the UK and Ireland, starting May 5, 2008.

Does this mean that I can now use trademark terms as keywords? Google is not in a position to make recommendations regarding the use of terms corresponding to trademarks. If you have further questions, we encourage you to contact your legal counsel and consult the AdWords Terms and Conditions.

How do I change who is authorized to use my trademark? If you would like to update your current trademark complaint to edit the list of authorized users of your trademark, you can send us a list of which authorized users, if any, are allowed to use your trademarked terms in their keywords and/or creatives. You'll find information about our trademark complaint procedures online at http://www.google.com/tm_complaint.html.

Since there may now be competition with my ads, can you help me improve my natural search results? The AdWords program, including the selection of an AdWords ad or AdWords ads content, is unrelated to the ranking of sites on our natural search results. To protect the integrity of our site, we clearly distinguish between search results and advertising. While we understand your concern regarding our recent revision of trademark policy, we may not influence the ranking of any site listed within Google Search results.

Google’s order of results is automatically determined by several factors, including our PageRank algorithm. Please check out our ‘Why Use Google’ page for more detail. The best way to ensure a results listing on Google is for many other sites to link to you.

I also recommend that you visit our webmaster section. This section is designed to answer all of your concerns and questions regarding your business or website’s presence within the Google search engine.

Who should I contact if I have further questions about this policy change? You can email trademark-policy-revision@google.com regarding any questions you might have about the policy change".

The IPKat says, for once I shall forgo the luxury of making any comments -- I suspect that one or two of my readers might just have something to say. Merpel says, how do you get a job on an Advertising Legal Support Team? That must be such fun!

Possibly the world's most famous complaint sketch here
How to complain here

1 comment:

Filemot said...

You could call it the Mr Spicy disaster. Google is going to make a bundle selling trademark keywords because that's not using the trademark. No its not trademark use but its certainly a free ride to an undeserved fortune by encouraging comparative advertising, which, thanks to Brussels is also legal. Don't you long for the days of fulginious obscurity

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