Google loosens ad trademark controls

2010-08-04 12:52

Paris - Google shook up its lucrative online advertising service on Wednesday, saying it would allow sellers to register other companies' brand names as search "keywords" when shopping on the internet.

Google currently allows advertisers to demand their brand be deleted from the list of keywords that other companies pay to have linked to their websites to boost the chances their company will appear in online searches.

Spokesperson Ben Novick said this practice would be scrapped in many European countries and territories from September 14, in line with its existing policy in most other countries, after a ruling by Europe's highest court.

"This is beneficial to users. They'll see more relevant ads when they've done a search," Novick told reporters at Google's Paris office.

Under Google's current system a big car company, for example, could prevent the appearance of advertisements for a separate company selling parts for its cars alongside the results when a user searches using its brand name.

After the change announced Wednesday, the parts firm will be able to have its services included in search results for the other company's brand name, by including it among the keywords it pays for.

The change means "narrowing what brand owners can control," Google lawyer Yoram Elkaim told reporters.

The countries affected include France, where companies including luxury goods group Louis Vuitton recently sued Google, alleging it infringed their trademarks by allowing other companies to index their brands as keywords.

The European Court of Justice ruled in Google's favour.

  - AFP