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Trademarks

Notice: there is now a Trademarks Troubleshooter available to help you pinpoint your issue.

Help for advertisers | Help for trademark owners

Google's approach to trademarks

If a trademark owner submits a complaint to Google about the use of their trademark in AdWords text ads, Google will review the complaint and may enforce certain restrictions on the use of that trademark. More help for trademark owners

There are multiple factors that determine when trademarks can be used in AdWords text ads. Along with the factors described below, these policies apply only when a trademark owner has submitted a valid complaint to Google.

Trademarks in ad text

Google will review complaints and may restrict the use of a trademark in ad text. AdWords ads using restricted trademarks in their ad text may not be allowed to run. This policy applies worldwide.

Exceptions: Here are some cases when the policy for ad text doesn't apply in the way described above:

  • Ad campaigns targeting these regions may use a trademark in ad text if the ad complies with our Reseller and informational site policy.
    Reseller and informational site policy

    When ads do comply with this policy:

    Resellers:

    • The ad's landing page is primarily dedicated to selling (or clearly facilitating the sale of) the goods or services corresponding to the trademark.
      OR
      The ad's landing page is primarily dedicated to selling (or clearly facilitating the sale of) components, replacement parts, or compatible products or services related to the goods or services corresponding to the trademark.
    • The product or services must be the primary focus of the ad's landing page. The landing page must clearly provide a way to purchase the product or services OR display commercial information (such as rates, prices, or quotes) about the product or services.

    Informational sites:

    • The primary purpose of the ad's landing page is to provide informative details about goods or services corresponding to the trademark.

    When ads don’t comply with this policy:

    • The ad's landing page isn't primarily dedicated to selling or facilitating the sale of (i) the goods or services corresponding to the trademark or (ii) components, replacement parts, or compatible products or services related to the goods or services corresponding to the trademark.
    • Ads referring to the trademark for competitive purposes.
    • The ad's landing page doesn't provide substantive information about the goods or services corresponding to the trademark.
    • The ad’s landing page requires substantial user information before providing commercial information.
    • Ads that are unclear as to whether the advertiser is a reseller or informational site.

    See some common questions about our Reseller and informational site policy.

    List of affected regions
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Ireland
    • New Zealand
    • United Kingdom
    • United States

  • Advertisers can use a trademark in ad text if they are authorized. This means that the trademark owner sent us the necessary form to allow an advertiser's particular account to use a certain trademark.
    Authorization policy

    A trademark owner (or contact person listed on the trademark complaint) can authorize specific AdWords accounts to use a trademark in ad campaigns. Here are some important things to know about authorizations:

    Who needs authorization

    Any AdWords advertiser that wants to use a trademark without restriction after a complaint has been filed must be authorized. This can include the trademark owner themselves, official affiliates and partners, regional branches, franchisees, and subsidiaries. Trademark owners can authorize advertisers while completing the trademark complaint form or in a separate authorization form after we have a complaint on file.

    Because authorization is given to individual AdWords accounts, the trademark owner must submit the customer ID of each account they want to authorize. Any My Client Center (MCC) accounts will automatically have authorization extended to all current and future client accounts that they contain.

    The process

    For advertisers: Contact the trademark owner directly and ask that they submit an authorization form for your account. We can't arrange authorization for you. If you don't know who to contact, use this form and select "No" to indicate that you aren't the trademark owner.

    For trademark owners: Use this authorization form to authorize an account.

    • Only the trademark owner (or contact person listed on the trademark complaint) can authorize use of their trademark. We aren't able to accept authorizations from regional branches or subsidiaries of the trademark owner, unless the trademark owner has previously designated them as authorized agents.
    • We can't accept conditional authorizations that include a time expiration or limitations on use.
    • The trademark owner may revoke authorization at any time by emailing ads-trademarks@google.com.

  • An ad can use a trademarked term in its text if either of these conditions is true:
    • the ad text uses the term descriptively in its ordinary meaning rather than in reference to the trademark
    • the ad is not in reference to the goods or services corresponding to the trademarked term

Trademarks in EU and EFTA
For ad campaigns targeting the European Union and EFTA regions, the ad text policy above applies. Accordingly, we don't prevent the selection of trademarks as keywords in the EU and EFTA. However, in response to a valid complaint, we will conduct a limited investigation as to whether a keyword (in combination with particular ad text) is confusing as to the origin of the advertised goods and services.

Details of EU and EFTA policy

In response to a complaint, we will do a limited investigation to see whether the use of a trademarked term as a keyword in combination with particular ad text is confusing as to the origin of the advertised goods and services (such as a keyword and ad that falsely imply affiliation with the trademark owner). If the combination of a keyword and ad text is confusing, we will disapprove the specific ad mentioned in the complaint so that it can't run.

Under our EU and EFTA policy, the following types of ads may use a trademark as a keyword, provided that the combination of the keyword and ad is not confusing (as described above). The following are examples, and not an exhaustive list:

  • Ads using a trademarked term when that term is being used in its ordinary meaning rather than in reference to the trademark
  • Ads for competing products or services
  • Ads for resale of the trademarked goods or service
  • Ads for the sale of components, replacement parts, or compatible products corresponding to a trademark
  • Ads for informational sites about a product or service corresponding to the trademark
List of affected regions
  • Åland
  • Austria
  • Bassas da India
  • Belgium
  • Bouvet Island
  • Bulgaria
  • Clipperton Island
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Europa Island
  • Finland
  • France
  • French Guiana
  • French Polynesia
  • French Southern and Antarctic Lands
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Glorioso Islands
  • Greece
  • Guadeloupe
  • Guernsey
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Italy
  • Jan Mayen
  • Jersey
  • Juan de Nova Island
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Mayotte
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Caledonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Reunion
  • Romania
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Svalbard
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tromelin Island
  • United Kingdom
  • Wallis and Futuna

Trademarks as keywords

Google won't investigate or restrict the selection of trademarks as keywords, even if we receive a trademark complaint.

Other references to trademarks

The trademark policies described here apply only to trademarks in Google AdWords text ads. If your complaint relates to another Google product, use the appropriate complaint process.

See information about our policy on trademarks in these areas:

Ad display URLs

As described in the section above, we can investigate and may restrict the use of trademarks in ad text. This process doesn't apply to trademarks in an ad's display URL (the website URL that's shown with the ad).

In response to a complaint about an Expanded text ad, we may restrict a trademark from appearing in the subdomain of an advertiser's display URL. Note that the ad may not be disapproved; instead, no subdomains will appear in the display URL. Trademark owners can contact the advertiser directly if they have any other concerns about display URLs.

Google search results
The trademark policies described here apply only to trademarks in AdWords text ads. These ads are clearly marked as "Ads" on Google search results pages and as "Ads by Google" on our Display Network. We don’t investigate the use of trademarks in sites that appear in search results. For any such concerns, contact the site owner directly.
Use of Google's trademarks

To report inappropriate use of Google's trademarks, please use this form.

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