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Google will begin allowing advertisers in the United States to use trademarked terms in their advertisements — including ones they don’t own — a move designed to revive its sagging ad revenue but likely to irk brands that are already chafing at Google’s fast-and-loose policy toward trademark protection.


Date: 5/15/2009

Keys: Marketing, advertising, legal issues, trademark,  technology


Questions for discussion:

  • There are a host of reasons why trademarks and brand names are legally registered as a means to protect the owners. Google’s policy can hurt a firm in many ways: suppose a vendor of an unknown athletic footwear brand “X” creates a Google ad using a well known brand “Nike” to draw shoppers. For example, the Google ad might say “Nike runners at unbelievable prices”. However, after clicking on the ad, the shopper might be presented with the offer to buy brand “X” instead. Do you think Google is “safe” from irate vendors if it allows these sorts of trademark infringements?
  • Is this a good strategy for the vendors of brand “X” to follow?

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