Back in December of 2008, two large companies in the UK went head to head in the High Court in London over something completely and utterly intangible: a brand name. The offending company wasn’t using the trademarked brand name, nor were they copying it or trying to sell a product as that trademarked brand – they were simply bidding on that keyword on Google’s AdWords PPC platform so their advert shows when a user searches for “interflora”:
The trademark in question is Interflora, the offender, none other than UK high street superbrand: Marks & Spencer. You can read more about that case over on The Register, but yesterday’s news is of much more importance.
Yesterday, the EU Court of Justice (full judgement can be found here) ruled in Interflora’s favour stating that M&S are in breach of trademarks in place and should not be allowed to profit off of someone else’s trademark. The UK High Court needs to now follow suit with the Court of Justice’s ruling, which Interflora expect to happen during the course of 2012.
If/Once the High Court applies this change, this will set the precedent for all other companies to block their competitors from bidding on brand names thus taking away potential profits from that company. That leaves a really important question ringing through my head:
Will Google block people from advertising on partial brand names?
For example, could I bid on “inter flowers” “flora inter” etc? The reason I ask, is because within this great iGaming industry in which I work, there are a lot of major players who have a pretty important word in their brand name: bet. If no partial brand-bidding will be allowed either, is it going to be a matter of advertising spend that decides on who gets to use “bet” as part of their brand name? Betfred (who, incidentally finally relaunched their site after over a year of planning, preparation, development and deployment), Betfair, Bet365, 188Bet, SkyBet, SportingBet, UniBet, BetDaq and plenty more will be fighting over it!