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As a provider of space for advertisements, we cannot arbitrate trademark disputes between advertisers and trademark owners. As stated in our Terms and Conditions, advertisers are responsible for the keywords and ad text that they choose to use. We encourage trademark owners to resolve their disputes directly with our advertisers, particularly because the advertisers may have similar advertisements on other sites.
As a courtesy, we are willing to perform a limited investigation of reasonable complaints. When we receive a complaint from a trademark owner, our review is limited to ensuring that the advertisements at issue are not using the trademarked term as a keyword trigger. If they are, we disable those keywords from the ad campaign. Please note that any such investigation will only affect ads served on or by Google. Trademark claims can be filed at any time. The trademark owner is not required to be a Google AdWords advertiser in order to file a claim.
Please view our trademark guidelines for more information on the use of Google trademarks. If you would like to submit a trademark complaint, please review our full trademark complaint procedure.
Please see line item 7 on this page for links to trademark guidelines and trademark complaint procedure:
One of my clients will be sending a faxed complaint to Google regarding a competitors abuse of your tos shortly with respect to their trademark being on its own a trigger term for their advert.
I hope that Google will be able to act on this asap.
[edited by: Shak at 12:51 pm (utc) on Oct. 17, 2003]
However, I have a question on this one. Say a company is named "National Widget Association". Can an advertiser bid on the phrase match, "national widget", or "widget association", to come up in the matches. They won't be bidding on the term itself, or does Google just block all adwords from showing when someone does a search that is considered trademarked?
I called and they told me <brand name> requested that no-one be allowed to bid on the terms. I said I pay <brand name> an advertising fee each month just to be able to use the terms! Which is true, $800 each month!
They said I'd have to provide an explicit letter from <brand name> corporate allowing me to use the terms.
<brand name> wasnt too cooperative either.
They said it was just too much hassle to allow me and not others. I gave up on it. As it turned out I wasnt happy with google or my company.
[edited by: Shak at 7:45 am (utc) on Oct. 18, 2003]
[edit reason] no specifics please [/edit]
I have had to deal with competitors inserting trademark terms in meta tags, on pages, in ads as key words or who buy misleading domains including trademarked terms.
My / our first line of attack, which has been the most valuable, is after documenting and collecting as much evidence of the offence as we can then to ensure that some senior executive(s) at the offending company know that we are aware of what is being done in their name and that we consider they are responsible for any damage to our good name.
Almost invariably the trademark infringement has been caused by some kiddie in the web department or agency who does not know what they are doing.
It is usually the action of a non professional (simply because professionals know how to do this sort of thing legally!) and the executives contacted are usually embarrassed enough by the ineptitude of their agents that they get remedial action underway pretty smartly.
There are loads of ways to escalate which in many cases I could enjoy. Most of my clients dont really want to go there even if they can see potential for a small communications victory over a competitor.
I recommend you keep a close eye out on your clients rankings, domains, adverts etc for their own trademarks, product names and business names because there are plenty of pretenders in the online world who dont really seem to grasp te concept of IPR, copyright as it applies to text or images, trademarks, or even patents.
Adwords is just a new avenue in which these people can continue to ignore some of the rules of the game.
What's interesting is if you type 'Pontiac', 'Corvette', 'Sony', 'Fender', 'Mattel', Led Zeppelin' or dozens of other trademarked terms, Ebay has an adword listing for it.