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What are some of the biggest legal issues search marketers face in PPC advertising? Early on, using someone else’s trademark in your meta tags was considered trademark infringement. Fortunately, standardized policies have been created to help eliminate the “he said, she said” battles. But we still have PPC click fraud, copyright infringement and trademark usage in PPC advertising to contend with. Plus most search engines have their own internal PPC trademark policy.

Two questions surrounding this issue were recently addressed in an article “Search and the Law: Attorney Clarke Douglas Walton”.

“1) Whether the use of a keyword to trigger a PPC advertisement may be trademark infringement in certain circumstances; and 2) whether that particular company’s trademark is used in the advertising text – when is it infringement and when is it fair use?”

There’s a lot of gray area, with more subjective views rather than clearly defined policies. Bidding on a trademark as you would a keyword doesn’t constitute as trademark infringement. In the US and Canada, you can bid on trademarks as keywords to trigger ads, but you can’t incorporate the trademark into the advertising text. International policies get a bit more restrictive and complex.

With the surge of social media & personalization how do we address issues surrounding a searcher’s personal profile & their search data?

In part two: a candid look at the positive & negatives challenges that lie ahead for marketers looking to use a searcher’s profile or data.

Ben Lloyd

About Ben Lloyd

Ben Lloyd serves as Principal at Add3 and manages the agency’s Portland office.  Ben got his start in SEM way back in 1999 – when there was like, 15 search engines and Google was barely a thing. Prior to Add3, Ben had founded Amplify Interactive in 2003 (which was acquired by Add3 in 2013), and hasn’t looked back since. Ben likes lots of stuff like golf, pinball, food(ie), booze/beer/wine – in that order, etc. Mostly – he likes doing that stuff with his friends. Ben is also co-founder of SEMpdx. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn

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