Intellectual property guidelines

As an advertiser, you are responsible for ensuring that your use of keywords and ad content, including trademarks and logos, does not infringe or violate the intellectual property rights of others.


Microsoft appreciates the importance of trademarks and takes allegations of trademark infringement seriously. Microsoft prohibits infringement of trademarks and other intellectual property by advertisers. Advertisers are responsible for ensuring that their ads do not violate the trademark or other intellectual property rights of others. For details on the policy in Taiwan, please refer to the Taiwan policy.


Trademark Owner

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. If dissatisfied with the outcome, the owner may also wish to contact Microsoft by completing the Intellectual Property Concern Form for that market, and select the option ‘Trademark Misuse in Ad Copy’. See “Ad investigations” below for more details.


Please note that Microsoft is not a mediator. As such, Microsoft encourages trademark owners to engage directly with advertisers who they believe are misusing their trademarks.


Ad investigations

Microsoft will investigate a complaint about trademark infringement in the text of a search ad Search and take appropriate action after it receives all required information. The investigation is designed to ensure the quality and accuracy of our ad results and to help our users avoid confusion.


Please note that Microsoft allows the fair use of trademarks in ad text, such as:

  • Use of a trademark by a reseller of authentic goods or services
  • Informational websites about goods or services represented by the trademark, such as product reviews
  • Ordinary dictionary use of a term
  • Comparative advertising, when supported by independent research

Ad and keyword investigations

In addition to the above, for Australia, Brazil, France, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Italy, New Zealand, Republic of Ireland, Singapore, and the United Kingdom only, Microsoft will also investigate a complaint about trademark infringement in keyword use after it receives all required information via the Intellectual Property Concern Form. Advertisers may not bid on keywords, or use in the content of ads, any term whose use would infringe the trademark of any third party or otherwise be unlawful or in violation of the rights of any third party.


Use of a third-party trademark may be allowed if its use is truthful and lawful, for example, if:

  • Your website provides information—product reviews, for example—about goods or services that are represented by the trademark, and your principal offering is not any product or service that competes with the goods or services represented by the trademark.
  • You are clearly using the ordinary, dictionary use of a term, and your principal offering is not any product or service that competes with the goods or services represented by the trademark.
  • You are a reseller whose website sells authentic goods or services that are distributed under the trademark.

Counterfeit policy

Microsoft prohibits the advertising of counterfeit goods on our advertising network. A counterfeit good is one that copies without permission the trademark and/or distinctive features of a product in order to either pass itself off as the genuine product or promote a nearly identical replica or imitation of the original product. Trademark or designer product brand names cannot be modified with “counterfeit,” “fake,” "replica," "copy of," "inspired by," “bootleg,” or any synonym thereof.


Upon receiving a sufficiently detailed complaint containing all required information, Microsoft will investigate and, if appropriate, remove from our network an ad that violates this policy. If you are a trademark owner and want to submit an allegation regarding the advertising of counterfeit goods, please complete the Intellectual Property Concern Form.

  • Counterfeit policy vs. trademark policy: Our counterfeit policy concerns the actual goods promoted on a site, whereas our trademark policy concerns use of the trademark in the ad text itself.
  • Counterfeit vs. copyright/pirated goods: A counterfeit good mimics trademark brand features rather than copying a product itself (such as music, movies and software).

Please note that information concerning a complaint, including a complainant’s contact information, may be forwarded to the advertiser that is the subject of the complaint.


Copyright policy

Advertising that contains content that infringes copyrights or that links to infringing content, or advertising that markets products or services that enable copyright infringement by illegally circumventing copyright protection is prohibited. Microsoft also prohibits the advertising of pirated goods on our advertising network. A pirated good is an unauthorized and complete copy of a copyrighted product, such as a movie, music or software. Upon receiving a sufficiently detailed complaint containing all required information, Microsoft will investigate and, if appropriate, remove from our network an ad that violates this policy.


If you feel that an ad violates this policy, please complete the appropriate Intellectual Property Concern Form.

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