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Bing Ads trademark policy: Market by market variations

From a network quality perspective, trademark use is one of the most common complaints. There are many excellent blog posts already available on the topic, in particular: What's in a Brand Name? Using Trademarks and Copyrights in Your Advertising provides an informative overview of policy and best practice, from the perspective of an advertiser uploading their advertisements.

At the onset, please be advised that it is the advertiser’s responsibility to ensure that the use of keywords and ad content, including trademarks and logos, does not infringe or violate the intellectual property rights of others. If a trademark owner is concerned that their trademark is being used improperly in ad text, the owner should first contact the advertiser directly to address the issue. Please note, we do not act as mediators for IP dispute resolution purposes; for more information, please review our Intellectual property policies.

In this article, our aim is to examine the opposite side of the coin, namely situations in which another advertiser may bid on a different company’s brand terms, as well as a more in depth look at the differences in trademark policy in the European markets.

Differences in Trademark Policy in European Markets

Bing Ads trademark policy may differ depending on the market.

We will review complaints concerning advertisers who use brand terms belonging to third parties in the ad copy, taking into account what may constitute “fair use” of the brand terms (we will examine what “fair use” entails later in the article). This is enforced in all markets.

Example:

Here, Contoso Coffee Shop (an advertiser with Bing Ads) is using Fourth Coffee Shop’s brand term in the ad copy with no relevant content on the landing page and with a similar product offered. This behaviour is disallowed

Contoso Coffee Shop

Better than Fourth Coffee Shop

However, in some European markets, namely: Spain, The Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Austria and Switzerland,  we will not review requests concerning advertisers that may choose to bid on another company’s brand term e.g. Contoso Coffee Shop may bid on the keyword “Fourth Coffee Shop”.

This is also the case in markets like US and Canada (including the French language Canadian market).

Conversely, in France, Italy, Republic of Ireland and United Kingdom, we accept requests concerning advertisers who bid on other companies’ brand terms i.e. Contoso Coffee Shop bidding on “Fourth Coffee Shop”.

(The full country list: Australia, Brazil, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom)

What constitutes fair use?

On the face of it, the decisions surrounding trademark use in ad copy seem relatively routine, but there are many instances in which usage could constitute a legitimate use of a brand term in paid search advertising. The subsequent non-exhaustive examples highlight this:

  • Use of a trademark by a reseller of authentic goods or services

Here, Contoso Phones, an authorised reseller of The Phone Company’s products, is bidding on their brand terms. This approach is compliant as The Phone Company products are available to buy on Contoso Phones’ website

Contoso Phones

Your premiere one-stop shop for phones and tablets, all providers. Sale on all The Phone Company products!

  • Informational websites about goods or services, such as product reviews

Here, Contoso Food Finder is a website that offers non-commercial information (e.g. there are no purchase options). This site offers information about Fourth Coffee Shop that is helpful to users.

Contoso Food Finder

Fourth Coffee Shop – Cafés in your area

  • Ordinary dictionary use of a term

Here, Contoso Windows is bidding on the term “windows”, with the ad referring to actual windows, and not the Microsoft product (brand) Windows.

Contoso Windows

Affordable window cleaners in your area

Similarly, Contoso Studios is bidding on the term “fine art”, the ad is referring to actual fine art, and not the brand term School of Fine Art

Contoso Studios

Fine art by respected local artists

  • Comparative advertising

Here, the Contoso Insurance Compare site offers a service to users by providing helpful information. Claims made by this type of site would need to be supported by independent research to attest to their veracity.

Contoso Insurance Compare

Find the best insurance for you

So there you have it! If you have run through this check list and still believe that the usage of your brand terms in paid search advertising is in violation of our policies, you can escalate your complaint via the relevant Bing Ads intellectual property concern form.

Again, as a reminder we do not act as mediators for trademark or other IP disputes between advertisers. As a first step we encourage you to contact the other party to solve the issue directly with them.

I hope I’ve helped clarify when the use of trademark terms in ad copy and at keyword level is permitted. If you have any questions or comments, please contact Bing Ads Support or visit the Bing Ads forums.

 
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Improve your online audience reach with Bing Solutions

With the holidays just around the corner, marketers everywhere are looking for ways they can stretch every dollar to ensure the best possible return on investment as the peak shopping season heats up.

Although you're most likely aware of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising as one option for increasing your exposure to online audiences, you may not know that there are several other options that Bing offers to help get your info in front of eyeballs who are searching for the products and services you provide.

For the sake of brevity and simplicity, let's take a look at those you'll find sharing web real estate with Bing Ads on the Bing Solutions page.

Bing Webmaster Tools

bing webmaster toolsWith Bing Webmaster Tools, you can...

  • Submit your site to Bing for inclusion in our organic search results
  • Generate reports that tell you where traffic is coming to your site from
  • Get recommendations on areas to improve on your site
  • Learn more about what people are searching for to help inform future updates

 

What's more, there's currently a promotion running through the end of next month for new users that includes an offer for $100 in USD credits for new Bing Ads advertisers*. Visit the Bing Webmaster Tools page for more information.

Bing Places for Business

You may already be showing up as a business listing on Bing, but with Bing Places for Business, you can claim that listing and add eye-catching information like photos, hours of operation, services offered and methods to contact you.

Bing Places for Business is a must for reaching mobile customers who are looking for what your business offers while on-the-go.

For more on both of these options, stop by the Bing Solutions page, where you'll also find resources related to apps & websites.

* Offer Details: Offer expires 9/30/2015 (midnight Pacific Time), and is available only to qualified advertisers who meet the following eligibility criteria: Open to new and verified Bing Webmaster Tools account holders who own their own Website and open a new Bing Ads account; a “new” account is one that has been open fewer than 30 days prior to the date of coupon redemption. Your account will be evaluated daily to verify you meet the eligibility criteria. When criteria is met, a Bing Ads coupon will be sent to each qualified advertiser by email in approximately 3 business days from date of verification. See full offer details here.

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Tutorial: Getting started with Bing Ads

Back in the day, one of the most popular places for businesses to advertise their products and services in was the phone book. When your potential customers pulled out that big white and yellow book to find the number of the local pizza delivery place, if you owned a restaurant that could be one of those places for them, you needed to make sure you had an ad in there so you'd stand out from the competition.

That was then... this is now.

The way we look for information on local businesses has shifted from in print to online, but the need for you to show up where your customers are with an eye-catching ad in the hopes that they'll choose you over the competition remains the same. Just as businesses in the past would allocate some budget to advertising in the phone book, but would also seek out other publications where their ads could reach new customers, so should today's business owners consider expanding their online exposure to new avenues that can deliver a solid return on investment.

Whether you're brand new to online advertising or a seasoned veteran who's been laser focused on Google Adwords, you should consider giving Bing Ads a try. Many of our current advertisers are quite happy to find that they're seeing lower costs-per-click due to the competition being not quite as fierce here as it is on other platforms. 

Whether you're already well versed in PPC advertising or brand new to it and could use some help with getting your first campaign set up, be sure to check out this helpful tutorial to help guide you through all the steps to get started.

bing ads tutorial

Questions? Comments? Feel free to stop by the Bing Ads Support Forums, or you can always ping us on Twitter.

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Free Bing Ads training and professional accreditation

Have you ever started a new job and showed up eager to learn on your first day of training, only to realize that the person responsible for getting you up to speed consistently explained things at a level that was way beyond where you were then and there, as a brand new employee? Maybe you've been that tenured employee who had to provide the training and had a really difficult time getting a sense of how much knowledge and experience the new hire had so that you'd know where to start? 

This is a fairly common scenario, best summarized by "the curse of knowledge," from Wikipedia:

bing ads training accreditation

When it comes to learning the ins and outs of PPC campaign management, it would be a virtual "curse of knowledge" minefield for a seasoned veteran to show a rookie the ropes. From the basics of campaign components and structure to more advanced concepts relating to reporting and optimization, the more thorough the training, the better prepared any aspiring PPC marketer will be.

Not surprisingly, here at Bing Ads, we want you to be successful with driving a great return on investment with your campaigns. Whether you're a small business owner who's just dedicating a few hours each week to running a single PPC campaign targeting local patrons, or if you're an agency rep who's got a book of business worth millions of dollars, the better educated you are on how to set up, manage and optimize campaigns, the happier you and/or your clients will be.

For free training Bing Ads training and accreditation (the latter more relevant for advertising professionals), be sure to visit the Bing Ads Training Courses page. These online courses are designed to let you choose the topics you want to learn about and progress at your own pace; you can leave off and pick back up at your leisure:

bing ads training accreditation

While these courses can be used by anyone to get up to speed on Bing Ads, our accreditation program should be of particular interest to advertising industry professionals. Visit our Training Overview page to learn more about becoming certified as a Bing Ads Accredited Professional and the benefits of becoming a member of our Find a Pro Directory.

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