3 Tips To Avoid Infringing on IP in a Google Ads Campaign
A Google Ads campaign is an important function for your business to have an online presence. A Google Ads campaign features your paid ad on the first page of a Google search when someone types in your chosen keywords. It is common for businesses to use their competitors business name, brand, or trade mark as part of their campaign, to generate business. For example, Apple can bid on ‘Samsung’ as a keyword for their Google Ads campaign. This allows potential customers to see Apple’s own products when searching for Samsung. While this might appear to be trade mark infringement, Google does not restrict trade marks for use as keywords. This makes it difficult for your campaign to be considered trade mark infringement. This article will take you through three tips to avoid infringing on intellectual property (IP) in a Google Ads campaign.
Tip #1: Know the Google Ads Trade Mark Policy
You must not use your Google Ads campaign as an opportunity to compare your business to a competitor. This means that while you can bid on your competitor’s business name as a keyword, you will not be able to use their business name in the content of your ad. This is because using a competitor’s trade mark as a key search word is not considered using their trade mark for your own benefit. However, if you are using your competitors trade mark within your ad itself, it will likely constitute trade mark infringement.
Note that there are exceptions for resellers, informational sites, and businesses selling compatible parts of goods relevant to the trade mark in question. You are typically allowed to use another business’ trade mark in your ad text in these instances.
Tip #2: Be Aware of Misleading and Deceptive Conduct
As well as being cautious of trade mark infringement, you should also be aware of the Australian Consumer Law. This requires that your Google Ads campaign does not mislead or deceive the public into believing that your business is associated with the business of the trade mark owner. You are allowed to use another business’ trade mark in your keywords search. This is because it is accepted that the public will realise that you are a competitor. However, if there is anything else in your ad to suggest an association with a competitor, it may be considered misleading and a breach of IP.
Tip #3: Check for Registered Trade Marks
The best way to check if you are infringing on someone else’s trade mark in your campaign is to check if there is a registered trade mark for the business name. For example, you can conduct a trade mark search using the Australian Trade Marks Online Search System (ATMOSS) for trade marks in Australia. A business name may still be a trade mark even without registration. However, a trade mark search can still produce useful results and help you decide on your Google Ads campaign content.
Google’s policies for their Google Ads campaigns make it relatively difficult to infringe someone’s trade mark. To avoid infringing IP on a Google Ads Campaign, it is important that you:
- know Google Ads’ trade mark policy;
- are aware of misleading and deceptive conduct; and
- conduct a trade mark search to help you avoid infringing on someone else’s trade mark in your ad campaign.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Google Ads campaign is an important function for your business to have an online presence. A Google Ads campaign features your paid ad on the first page of a Google search when someone types in your chosen keywords. You can bid on these keywords to secure them for your own ad.
Google’s policies for their Google Ads campaigns make it relatively difficult to infringe someone’s trade mark. However, you should generally avoid using a competitor’s trade mark in your advertisement’s main text, and you should be aware of any trade marks you might infringe by conducting a trade mark search.
Misleading and deceptive conduct is an offence under Australian Consumer Law. Misleading and deceptive conduct refers to any behaviour that is likely to mislead or deceive consumers or other businesses about your goods or services. In a trade mark context, this includes leading other businesses or people to believe that you are affiliated with a particular trade mark or brand when you are not.