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Google is preparing for a backlash from large brands this week as details of its new trademark policy are implemented.
The policy is changing so that advertisers are no longer restricted from bidding on trademarked terms. The only restriction will be on including trademarks within the advert text.
Brands are preparing to face stiff competition if they want to remain at the top of the sponsored listings for terms they previously had no competition for, such as their company name.
Clever affiliates will be looking to capitalise on the policy change by bidding on merchants names with terms such as 'discount code' in their adverts.
Yahoo UK was recently sued (unsuccessfully) by a trademark owner looking to prevent other advertisers from bidding on his brand.
The trademark owner lost the case and there is speculation that this might have been the test case Google was looking for to change its policy.
Top lawyer Peter Brownlow commented:
“For a number of years we have been waiting for a UK decision on whether or not the use of keywords for sponsored search results amounted to trade mark infringement. The judgment of Mr Justice Morgan has now clarified the position as regards search engines.”