Commercial & Dispute Resolution - News

    March 2009

    Online Advertising - key words for brand owners

    Brand owners’ ability to control the exploitation of their brands is key to preserving and increasing their value. The exponential growth in online advertising over the last few years and the associated media spend has brought the control and exploitation of brands in cyberspace into sharper focus.

    However, legal developments over the past year have triggered changes in policy by Google, which has significantly weakened the protection offered to brand owners against use of trade marked terms as keyword triggers by unauthorised third parties. A brand owner needs to be aware that it may be possible for its competitors to use the brand owner’s trade marks as keywords in online advertising in the UK and US, although the brand owner may be able to prevent this practice in the rest of the European Union.

    With a number of potentially key judgments expected from the European Court of Justice over the coming months, now is a good time for brand owners to review their approach to this issue.


    In May 2008, international law firm Hammonds became a limited liability partnership.  Hammonds LLP and its affiliated undertakings has offices in Birmingham, Leeds, London and Manchester in the UK, and in Berlin, Brussels, Beijing, Hong Kong, Madrid, Munich and Paris.