Many of us have long forgotten how hard it was to travel around Europe or to buy something in other European countries before the Schengen agreement or the Euro. In the same way, we tend to forget how time consuming it was to find the best deal for plane tickets or hotels, or to compare qualities and prices of products before the Internet. Google is proud that its online ads enable consumers to compare goods and services, and businesses, small and large, to promote their products, locally and across borders.

Yet these new powerful online advertising tools must not be misused to support the sale of counterfeits. Google has always prohibited ads for the sale or promotion of counterfeit goods. We now are taking measures to further improve our cooperation with trademark owners. Our new Counterfeit Goods complaint form streamlines the way trademark owners can inform us about ads they see for counterfeit goods. This allows for faster review and take down of offending ads when necessary. We will continue to innovate to develop solutions that prevent ads for counterfeit goods.

When Europe knocked down borders, customs officials needed to adapt and trademark owners faced new challenges to cope with circulation of counterfeits. Similarly, the Internet has provided new opportunities to unscrupulous advertisers. Yet Europe did not back away from tearing down borders and pursuing the benefits of the single market. In the same way, we will continue to work with trademark owners to fight against ads for counterfeit goods while allowing both users and advertisers to reap the full benefits of the web.

Posted by Antoine Aubert, Policy Manager, Brussels