The ban of side placements of brand keywords search results in the US turned out to be just a rumour.
Google has confirmed that there was no change in policy with regards to the placements of brand keywords search results. Ads still can appear at the top, on the right hand side and at the bottom of the page. That applies to all countries.
Google suspects that the confusion with regards to the placements of the brand keyword searches came from the November updates. As of November ads that have previously shown to the side of the results started in some cases appear below them. The space on the side is taken over by maps, local business locations and Google +.