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Federal Appeals Court Allows Keyword Bidding On Competitor's Names

paidContent reports a California federal court ruled that it is allowed to bid on a competitor’s name for search ads.

The ruling was done in an appeals court in the case between Network Automation and Advanced Systems Concepts. Both companies sell scheduling and management software and Network Automation purchased the keyword “ActiveBatch,” a trademarked product of Advanced Systems Concepts on the Google and Bing search ad networks. Advanced Systems Concepts sued Network Automation and won in court, but that was overturned in appeals court.

The reason the appeals court overturned the original decision was because the lower court did not take into account the landing page nor the ads being sectioned off and labeled as ads. Due to those facts, the appeals court felt there was no confusion as to the ad.

I should note that both Google AdWords and now even Microsoft adCenter share the same trademark rules, allowing advertisers to bid on trademark keywords, in many cases. Plus, advertisers can use the trademarked text in their ad, again – in many cases.

You can read Google’s official AdWords trademark policy as well. For the full court ruling, see this PDF document, courtesy of Gary Price.

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