Google Ads And Trademark Infringement

Today, as Google has become synonymous with the Internet itself, advertising on Google Ads has become a preferred tool for increasing sales. However, there are several legal aspects that are hidden with the use of Google Ads as a primary source of lead generation. Although there have been several disputes regarding Google Ads in the recent past, alleging that it was monopolistic or discriminatory towards businesses, in a recent case, Google Ads was accused of being an infringing vehicle. branded by companies.

In the most recent incident, it was found that in the fight to become the “most searched website” or to attract the most users, brands have used illegal and anti-competitive practices on Google Ads. It’s something that even the internet giant failed to fix before the battle went to court.

It has been established over the years that brands should avoid competitors’ brands or other distinguishing marks to avoid any type of legal action. Google Ads strictly prohibits the use of these marks by other companies as it may cause confusion in identifying the original source of the business, thereby hindering the growth of competitors and allowing the advertiser to use the competitor’s brand and reputation to his advantage.

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Generally, in response to trademark complaints, Google Ads restricts the use of trademarks in ad copy. Only authorized resellers, news sites, related organizations and advertisers are permitted to use the Trademarks, that too only if essential.

In fact, to ensure that the platform is only promoting legitimate ads, Google provides that one can use Google’s own tool to submit trademark registrations which further ensures that no one is allowed to copy the distinctive trademark of the holder, safeguarding possible lawsuits and allegations of infringement.

The most recent example of such a problem is the MakeMyTrip vs Booking.com trademark infringement case.

In this case, it was said that whenever a user searched for “MakeMyTrip” on Google, the first link to be displayed was www.booking.com.

Upon review, it emerged that the latter had used MakeMyTrip’s trademark for its own Google Ad promotions. Due to MakeMyTrip’s prominent existence in the Indian travel booking space, Booking.com, a Dutch online travel has attempted to quickly and easily gain prominence in the country’s travel ecosystem.

As a result, a lawsuit has been filed under which Booking.com is now barred from using the “MakeMyTrip” trademark as a keyword in the Google Ads program until a further hearing. This not only puts monetary pressure on Booking.com to exit the lawsuit, but also hurts the company’s reputation in the market. This case will certainly set a strong precedent and deter other companies from using the trademarks or brand names of their “more famous” counterpart to attract users’ attention.

Protecting your brand is only one aspect of protecting your brand from a Google Ads lawsuit. Given the volume of business transactions and purchases made on Google, Google has developed very strict advertising policies, covering four main areas, which, if not followed, can again be brought to light by legal action. reviews: prohibited content (ranging from the sale of counterfeit products to illegal activities such as hacking devices), prohibited practices

1) Prohibited Content: Promoting the sale of counterfeit products to any product that may cause harm, harm, or injury to users is not allowed on Google. Google prohibits companies from advertising any type of dishonest or illegal activity like hacking devices or any inappropriate content that focuses on infringement, discrimination, etc. Google reserves the right to block or remove content or ads containing what it considers “prohibited content”.

2) Prohibited Practices: Google Ads does not allow advertising of content that abuses the ad network, such as disguising the end destination. If in any case the advertiser tries to obstruct the personal data of the user or actually tries to collect irresponsible data such as credit card information, sexual orientation, etc. in its advertising content, it is liable to a fine.

3) Restricted content and functionality: This category covers content that can sometimes be considered sensitive. By using age filters, Google tries to provide a safe advertising experience for all users. Any content related to alcohol, sex, gambling, politics, healthcare and drugs, financial services, and other restricted businesses is reviewed multiple times before being assigned.married to promote in certain domains and groups only.

4) Editorial and Technical: Ads that are clear, relevant, readable, easy to interact with and professional looking are the only ones to be considered. Any ad that does not meet the user’s destination requirement is also removed from the list. Google makes sure that any user who clicks on an ad has a defined destination to go to so they don’t get stuck in harm’s way.

As the famous saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility,” Google has a huge responsibility to protect the millions of transactions that pass through it daily. In the recent past, Google has realized that it can be held responsible for how its users advertise their products on the platform, even if they are just a “middle-man platform”. This awareness has certainly created a massive impact on the online ads scenario on Google, thus having a critical impact on both user/customer and business interests.

It’s essential for advertisers to note that while Google Ads can be extremely resourceful in promoting your brand, breaking its rules can land you in months of court hearings and legal proceedings. Therefore, an informed and conscious decision would definitely be worth it before planning to invest capital in promoting your product.

(The author is managing partner, Verum Legal, a law firm)

Published on

June 05, 2022

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