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Trademarks and Adwords



1:51 pm on Oct 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Can trademark owners contact Google to request that they stop selling ads that are bidding on a trademark term and Google will stop running those ads?


2:02 pm on Oct 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

sure, you can contact them. Whether it qualifies as a trademark, is a whole different story. It will be a judgement call on Googles part. Remember, you can use a trademark in a comparison situation.


11:26 pm on Oct 7, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member adwordsadvisor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Please reference the AdWords FAQ for lots more detail on this question. Quoting the FAQ:

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:



10:00 am on Oct 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Many thanks AdWordsAdvisor for the information.

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]


2:46 pm on Oct 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator ewhisper is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

In these instances, I can say I've been happy with Google's response to blocking trademarked terms, and also, checking to make sure it is trademarked as I've seen people try to say they own trademarks they didn't.

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?


3:05 pm on Oct 17, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

One year ago, I was making a research on internal SE. When I use a well knowed copyright single word term in a G search, I saw a premium sponsorship ad for... the *Google appliance*. I report it to G, and one hour later the appliance ad was no more there.


2:18 am on Oct 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member adwordsadvisor is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Good question eWhisper, although it's hard to generalize here.

Each request from a trademark owner is handled on a case by case basis. Essentially, what AdWords does depends on what the trademark owner specifically asks for, whether or not they 'own' common variations, and so forth.


5:12 am on Oct 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I work with <brand name keyword>. When I bid on the words <brand name keyword> and my county name together, they pulled my ad. Even though my license is placed with <brand name keyword>.

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]


6:52 am on Oct 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

There is a potential trap regarding trademark infringement in the “sample matches” tool that became available with the new broad matching. The “matching queries and suggestions” at least in my industry bring up a lot of trademarked names. Simply cutting and pasting the whole list as keywords can be a big mistake.

Some time ago there were reports of litigation against people who put other’s trademarks in their meta keywords tag. Presumably using a trademark as an Adwords trigger would be as bad or worse and is certainly one to be wary of.


7:26 am on Oct 18, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Re the use of a trademark on a competing site.

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.

Bill Hibbler

6:10 am on Oct 20, 2003 (gmt 0)

I had an interesting experience with the phrase 'ebay'. Google stopped my campaign for trademark infringement.

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.


7:01 pm on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I have the keyword "Lancome" disabled for trademark problem.
But when you search for "Lancome" on google, there's still an ad of an affiliate shown.


7:28 pm on Oct 23, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Regarding Bill's post, those may be affiliates of ebay, comissioned via comission junction. They'll recieve credit if bids are placed after clicking their unique link google serves.
I'd imagine ebay allows their affiliates to do that, and most likely its not their ad directly.

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