Should brands be allowed to bid on competitor brands

by Peter Young on September 22, 2011 · 3 comments

With the recent ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union on the Inteflora/Marks & Spencers case regarding trademark usage and its direct impact on Paid Search, we are interested to know whether you think brands should be allowed to bid on competitor brand searches.

With many organisations using competitor bidding as a big part of their online acquisition strategies there is no doubting the potential impact this could have – however one may argue this could work two fold and in many cases may help larger organisations more than smaller ones.

[poll id =16]

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Adam Tudor September 22, 2011 at 10:24 am

Difficult one and I don’t think it’s as simple as that.

In many cases ‘brand + product name’ or even a trademarked product name such as ‘xbox’ or ‘Sony Discman’ should allow competitor bidding as other companies sell those trademarked products.

However, if the brand or product is only available exclusively from that one store or supplier – as in this case – Interflora, no-one else can sell these products or services, so they shouldn’t be able to advertise on them.

Marks and Spencer would be a trademarked protected bid, but ‘M&S Jeans’ wouldn’t be, as it’s not trademarked and people can sell these second hand.

I think it should be the decision of the individual trademark owner in each case, and only apply to the exact matched trademark term as a search.

But then you could argue, it’s Google’s search engine, they can do what the hell they like with it? Openness and free access for all right?

Ian September 22, 2011 at 10:31 am

Yes they should. Why? Because you entere a minefield of search intent if you don’t allow it. Ok, with something as distinctive as InterFlora it is quite easy to prevent bidding. But what about a company called Computer Parts? Or Luxury Chocolates? Should you be prevented from bidding on those terms?

Brent Rangen October 2, 2011 at 1:48 pm

Absolutely! It is a competitive marketplace and it (legality) all comes down to two, ad copy & destonation url’s purpose.

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