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Andy Atkins-Kruger

Google expands new trademark policy – but sidesteps Europe

Following the expansion of their trademark policy to the UK last year, Google has widened its looser trademark policy which basically allows all-comers to bid on trademark keywords increasing the cost of trademark advertising via the number one search engine and allowing competitors to aggressively buy each others ‘marks. The new change expands the ‘we won’t intervene’ approach to a total of 190 countries. The change comes into force on June 4th.

However, Google has sidestepped the key European countries with the strongest legal rules and where cases have cost Google most in fines (see list below). From calculations, the removal of protection for trademarked terms increases advertiser costs by as much as 80% – as well as taking revenue from additional advertisers on those terms. The policy, therefore, enables Google to increase its adverising take from advertisers. The approach also affects major global brands most significantly – because they generally spend proportionately more on advertising their brands because it is those brands – and the associated products – which have made them global.

Google has long struggled to persuade blue chip advertisers to move more of their advertising budgets to Google Adwords – this is step which leaves them with no choice. However, it is a dangerous move as it could also contribute to tipping the ROI see-saw towards other newer forms of promotion such as social media and Twitter.

Having received no significant kick-back from its UK change of a year ago – it’s no surprise that this is being rolled out now. Probably, another year will pass before more countries – especially European ones – are added. I predict that France, where the courts have levied the largest fines against Google, will be the last to go.

So the following countries (European Union countries in bold) will not see the change – at least yet. Via Search Engine Land


  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Germany
  • Hungary
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden



  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Brazil
  • China
  • Iceland
  • Macau
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
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Andy Atkins-Kruger

Andy Atkins-Kruger

CEO at Webcertain
Andy is the CEO of Webcertain. He is a trained linguist with 20 years of experience in international marketing, having helped major brand leaders with their advertising and public relations projects on five continents. Webcertain has been operating multilingual search marketing campaigns for over 15 years and is one of few agencies which only deal with international campaigns; the company doesn't deal in single market projects. Andy speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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