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Trademark Terms

Can anything be done?



11:25 am on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have a problem where a competitor is bidding on our trademarked terms. They are bidding on our company and product names. They are not affiliated with our company nor our products, they are a competitor. I have read some things that indicate that as far as Adwords is concerned, you are SOL. Is this true?

I dont handle the PPC side of things, I am the organic guy, but is there anything that can be done? Any suggestions?

Then i read [webmasterworld.com...] and it says that BMW is trademarked. Granted, we are not BMW, but it is our trademarked comany names and products.



12:03 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Search for the ruling in the Geico v. Google case. That might give you some insight.


12:08 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Thanks. If what I read was right, SOL seems appropriate.


12:33 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

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

AdWords trademark complaint policy page might help you out:

Quantam Goose

2:04 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Oh Contraire! The overwhelming problem in this area is rampant (wildfire) trademark claims and enforcement.

Before we start oozing tears of sorrow for the "violated" trademark holders - lets give a few examples of trademark protection run wild. For example , did you know the word "Latitude" is a trademarked term by Dull computer? Thats right. You cannot put the word latitude in any context relating to computers using adwords or any other context. In fact if I was warren buffet, and wanted to run an ad saying I was giving away a latitude computer to all families in dire circumstances (Give Away!) the crack google trademark police would disallow my ad.

Go ahead and try it.

Hundreds of english language names or descriptors which some company decided to adopt are now off limits because Google and other advertising mediums go along with the notion that if a "got bucks" corporation decides to name a product "Sunday" and then uses the flawed trademark laws in this country, then Google will become a willing co-conspirator to banning the normal use of the word Sunday. This is in fact what is happening.

Pretty soon, Google adwords will be a highly regulated manufacturer approved sales channel. Google - stand up and say no to frivilous trademark claims.!


6:07 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I agree 100% that a word like latitude being frivolus.

I would not ask what can be done if that were the case.

These keywords are ours and nobody elses as far as i see it. Meaning Not frivolus.


product1name<--we created
product2name <--we created
product3name <--we created
product4name <--we created
product5name <--we created

I can assure you these names are not similar to anything(except themselves). They are product names that we created (including the software). There is not a single generic, or remotely close term that would seem frivolus. In fact every product we make has our company name in it except for 1 and thats a unique name that would not be firvolus either.

I guess it just irritates me and the company because a lot of work and money has been put in to the development of these products and when a competitor bids on the keywords, and sells their own products, you would think something can be done about it.

Quantam Goose

6:47 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

300M - I agree completely if you have not "trademarked" generic terms from the english dictionary. Unfortunately, agressive trademarking by unethical or "Got Bucks" companies, in conjunction with advertising mediums like Google (where is the "little guy image that Google likes to portray) diminish your avenues of recourse. If Google was focused on patent and CLEAR trademark violations such as yours, where the underlying trademark claim was not ridiculous to a first grader, then you would probably get a better response from Google.

BUT, Google responds to $$$$ and Dull Computer spends millions with Google - thus the accelerated trademark enforcement of such ridculous terms as "LATITUDE".

As I said - SUNDAY is next....


7:32 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I have had a problem with this on Google as well. They will not remove an ad if it is targeting your company trademark but will remove the ad if they are using your trademark in the ad itself.


11:17 pm on Jun 29, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

As long as they are not misleading people into thinking they are your company, and not using your product names or company name in their ad then how does it violate a trademark?

It's advertising space, if we really wanted to get picky with all the trademark stuff then technically when someone searches on something like "Dell" then only ads and web sites owned by Dell should show up. No one seems to have a problem with web sites getting free traffic under a trademark search but do if the traffic is being paid for?

Perhaps you search on a name brand because it is all you know and then see an ad for a product you never knew existed by another company and it turns out to be a better choice?

I do this all the time as a consumer because it is an easy way to find similar products and services. It's logical and common sense. You advertise where your competitors potential customers are as long as you don't misrepresent yourself.

I know many will disagree with me 1000% on this but as long as the other ad in no way tricks or confuses a person into thinking they are the name brand I see no problem.

A while back I discovered the keyword "falcon" is trademarked to this day I've never heard back from Google why despite repeated inquiries.

Quantam Goose

12:37 am on Jun 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

jkwilson78 - you are spot on. To add to the confusion, individual english name words can ( and are) trademarked by different companies and individuals.


10:19 am on Jun 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Well, i kind of figured it was not going to be good news for us, but you know I think that for my specific keywords its dirty ,not because its happening to me. But i also understand its part of the ad game. Dont get me wrong, there ARE things that can be done, but removing the ad seems not to be an option.


7:03 pm on Jul 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I find it completely irrational and downright perverse that Google insists that certain highly common generic words are patented when they are clearly not patented (at least not in the UK patent database where the ads will shown. and will never be patented as they are insufficently unique.)

The word....I'm sure you're wondering


currently awaiting clearance from G...sigh

Quantam Goose

8:04 pm on Jul 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member


The problem is two-fold exacerbated by the fact that Google is a US Company.

One the "Trademark" process in the US is run by complete idiots in the federal Government who grant outrageous trademark Protection.

Two, Google does not want to shoulder the burden of challenging this absurdity when the Trademark Holders will:

1. Sue Google at the drop of a penny (They have a lot of money)

2. Pay millions to Google for near exclusive advertising on Google.

IMHO - the only way this marketplace trademark insanity can be stopped, is if some up and coming law firm wants to make its mark in the class action lawsuit world.


6:44 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Actually, if you search the USPTO trademark database (http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=searchss&state=p6ajer.1.1) for 'latitude' you'll find more than 12 claims for that word-

And technically, a claim for a common word like that is not strong at all. I doubt they could defend it in court.

And am I missing something? Everytime I've written in my reason for an exemption on a trademark or squaretrade issue, I've gotten it.

Yes, the AdWords databases for both are annoyingly oversized, and this part of their program is not as smooth as others, but in my experience you can get around it easily with the write-in exemption.

Quantam Goose

7:45 pm on Jul 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

The response from Google is that the use of the word "latitude" in any computer related context falls within the DULL claim. The usage has to do with "appraisal" of computers - not competitive selling. Given Googles's response ANY ad that uses the word LATITUDE and COMPUTER or LAPTOP in the ad or landing page would run afoul of the crazy trademark situation in the US. EG computerized latitude/longitude device (gps) would not be acceptable.

Again - there is a conflict between Google doing the "sane" thing and the money of DULL.

The problem lies with incompetentence in the TRADEMARK office.


3:11 pm on Jul 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Does anyone ever call Google, they're very helpful.

Alternatively email your competitor and ask them to stop bidding on your trademark, has always worked for me.

<email quote removed -- included UK phone number>

Obviously people in US do not call this number.

[edited by: eWhisper at 12:12 pm (utc) on July 5, 2006]
[edit reason] Please don't insert emails. See TOS. [/edit]