Google Ads Trademark Rules 101

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What’s wrong with this picture?


It depends on who you ask. This ad likely upset Restoration Hardware. Brands tend to want to occupy position one on branded searches. Joss & Main, on the other hand, was likely happy to see that their strategy of bidding on a slight misspelling of Restoration Hardware’s brand name (ie. Restorationhardware), put their ad in position one on the SERP, ahead of their competitor.

When competitors use your trademark in their Google AdWords campaigns, there are many adverse effects including decreased CTRs and increased CPCs for your ads as well as a poor customer experience for your customers. It’s also annoying for any digital marketer to see a competitor in the top spot on the SERP using your trademark! Check out more in part 2 of our 4-part series on Google Ads Trademark Rules.

But, what does Google have to say about all this? Is it even allowed?

Google does not allow competitors to use trademarked terms in the ad title or ad copy. In the example above, if Restoration Hardware were to submit the ad for take down, Google would have likely removed it. You can use a brand name (or a competitor’s brand name) in the display URL of your ad.

Google’s rules, however, vary by geographic location and what may seem like a slight nuance can have a significant impact. This blog post – the second in a four-part series –will explain and show examples of what is

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