Google AdWords Trademark Concerns and How to Report Violations

Apr 17, 2007 • 9:45 am | comments (6) by twitter | Filed Under Google AdWords

The question about trademarks is often a tough one and one that is revisited time and time again. Barry's first post that I've noticed on this topic about competitors bidding on the RustyBrick name back in 2004. The question seemed to have resurfaced in a HighRankings Forum post, where a user asks how he can protect his website name against trademark violations.

The user is presented with the Google Trademark Policy, which states:

Google takes allegations of trademark infringement very seriously and, as a courtesy, we're happy to investigate matters raised by trademark owners. Also, our Terms and Conditions with advertisers prohibit intellectual property infringement by advertisers and make it clear that advertisers are responsible for the keywords they choose to generate advertisements and the text that they choose to use in those advertisements.

The trademark owner is not required to be a Google AdWords advertiser in order to send a complaint. Please also note that any such investigation will only affect ads served on or by Google. In the case of an AdSense for Domains trademark complaint, an investigation will affect only the domain names of sites in our AdSense for Domains program.

Therefore, Google acknowledges that they will investigate any trademark violations in its AdWords campaign and anyone -- even if they're not AdWords advertisers -- can file reports. This is good news for anyone who is concerned.

A similar thread was discussed last week at Search Engine Watch Forums where members agreed that Google will work to prevent your competitors from using your trademarks.

Google has a number of forms that anyone concerned about trademarks can file for review by the AdWords team. If you are in the US or Canada, you can use the form here. If you are outside the US and Canada, you can use the form here. Basically, Google asks you to fill out a complaint form and then you can either email it to a designated email address, mail it to a physical address, or fax it to one of Google's phone numbers.

Last week, in the same Search Engine Watch Forums thread, a number of users did have concerns about Google enforcing trademarks too strongly. Some more natural search terms were being rejected. Google has responded to these users to let them know that it was a technical glitch that has since been resolved.

Forum discussion continues at HighRankings and Search Engine Watch.

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toby boon

05/15/2007 05:28 pm

You are all missing the point. They are using the 'broad match' service to completely circumvent trademark owners rights. Let me explain.... If i am Sheraton Hotels and I want to have my adverts appear when someone types Marirot then i use the keyword "hotel" which is generic and because Google have linked in their database the word Sheraton and Hotel then my marriot advert will appear whenever a search for Sheraton is entered. In my view this is blatent infringment by Google. How can their keyword tool make the link between a trademark brand and a a tgeneric term. It is not in their gift to do so. they have no permission and are simply giving free reign to web marketers to ride on teh coat tails of established brands which have taken hard work and a lot of time and money to get notoriety. Of course it is win-win for google because they have the whole world out bidding each other in a frenzy to push off undesirable advertisers using their trademarks which inflates each click bid. It is outrageous. Imagine going to Yahoo and typing in Google and an advert for Yahoo comes up just because they decide to list Google and Yahoo both as search engines.

Rich Anderson

05/23/2007 01:02 am

I purchased a slot machine in which the trademark is not valid. In addition the seller is marketing Elvis, Nascar, KISS, and others. I want this person to stop, how can I do so?

Rich Anderson

05/23/2007 01:05 am

I purchased a slot machine where a trademark is being used illegally. The seller tells me that he checked with his seller and it is legal. I did some research and found out it is not. In addition the seller is marketing Elvis, Nascar, KISS, and others. I want this person to stop, how can I do so?


11/06/2008 09:09 pm

If anyone is considering class action against Google on this, I'll be signing up in a heart beat. I complained to google about someone using my company's trade name but google said they wouldn't do anything about it. I was completely shocked upon reading their reply. I have gathered the evidence and would be happy take part in a class action against this Internet giant bent on doing evil.

Jungle Boyman

07/07/2011 12:07 am

trademark and intellectual properties violations being committed by  cannabis planet they are completly using my trademarked logo for SmokinGreen i have sent them decease and assist letters they have not contacted me back  i own the registered logo  the world with planet earth and  the marijuana leaf as a registered symbol and logo and trademark with the u.s.p.t.o.  pertaining to the registered trademark  SmokinGreen  dear Google  please take cannabis planet down  thank you


02/24/2012 06:47 pm

i need to recover I AM THE REGISTERED TRADEMARK OWNER with the U.S.P.T.O.  please help me to get my intellectual property back  thank you

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