"AdWords campaign disapproved! Disapproval reasons - trademark terms"
Yikes. I just saw this "AdWords trademark violation" message when I logged into my Google AdWords account. I've been trying to get a small AdWords campaign going for my "Hide Desktop Icons" software application, but it's been a battle getting through the AdWords approval process. My biggest problem is that Google AdWords won't approve my ads, and the only information they give me is this trademark message that states, "Disapproval reasons - trademark terms".
My AdWords trademark terms needs
My specific problem is that I very much want/need to be able to refer to Mac (™) computer systems in my ads, as my app is only available for Mac OS X systems. However, any time I try to use "Apple", "Mac", or "OS X" in my advertising text, I get the "Disapproval reasons - trademark terms" AdWords message.
I just made some changes to my AdWords campaign (based on the "Apple trademark policy" shown below) and I'm hoping I can get past this AdWords trademark terms issue. It would be a waste of everyone's time if Linux or Microsoft Windows' users click on my ads and then find out that my app is only available for Mac OS X systems.
(Followup: That didn't work.)
Google AdWords and Apple's trademark policy
After a lot of searching, I found Apple's trademark policy/guideline, and I'm hoping I can finally get through this problem. In short -- according to the Apple trademark guidelines -- Apple will allow developers to use the following phrases:
"Developers may use Apple, Macintosh, iMac, or any other Apple word mark (but not the Apple Logo or other Apple-owned graphic symbol/logo) in a referential phrase on packaging or promotional/advertising materials to describe that the third party product is compatible with the referenced Apple product or technology, provided they comply with the following requirements."
a. The Apple word mark is not part of the product name.
b. The Apple word mark is used in a referential phrase such as "runs on," "for use with," "for," or "compatible with."
c. The Apple word mark appears less prominent than the product name.
d. The product is in fact compatible with, or otherwise works with, the referenced Apple product.
e. The reference to Apple does not create a sense of endorsement, sponsorship, or false association with Apple or Apple products or services.
f. The use does not show Apple or its products in a false or derogatory light.
This Apple trademark information was found on the following Apple URL:
Reply from Google AdWords support
To make a long story short, I finally found out how to write the Google AdWords support people, and despite the fact that my latest AdWords ad only uses Apple trademark terms according to their third-party guidelines, and I am an Apple developer, I was told the following:
I understand that Apple's website has content with regards the usage of their trademark. However, per our advertising guidelines, for us to allow the trademark 'Apple' to appear in your ads, we require direct authorization from the trademark owner. Please ask the trademark owner to follow the trademark authorization steps outlined at http://adwords.google.com/
I may end up following this AdWords trademark terms approval process, but at the moment my assumption is that this is going to take a long time.
Google AdWords trademark use - summary
For what it's worth, although I don't like these "AdWords trademark terms" problems, I do agree with the concept of proper trademark use. I've seen many people do disparaging things with trademarks, or otherwise try to use them in a misleading way to their advantage, so I understand that this protection is necessary. But in my case with Google AdWords, I'm just trying to use a word like "Apple", "Mac", "Macintosh", or "OS X" to state that my software runs on these systems, and the phrases I've used conform with the Apple publicly-stated third-party guidelines. My guess is that Google has had problems with Apple's legal department before, and therefore they won't approve any AdWords campaign that uses Apple trademark terms.