We work with many clients who have experienced authorized resellers using their brand name in paid search ads. This is often done for the resellers to further promote products on their site and deter consumers from clicking on the true, official site.
However, if you have a registered trademark, no one should be able to use your brand name in paid search ads (or otherwise) on Google AdWords, though they can and likely will bid on your brand name – an action which is allowed. Both of these rules are still true for your authorized resellers as well – even though they have permission to sell your product or service, they are not allowed to use your trademarked name without your express permission, as documented by Google.
In order to protect our clients from competitors and resellers using their brand name, we often work with Google to get these illicit ads and content taken down. To do so, you’ll need to follow Google’s process on reporting trademark infringement – but it can be a little tricky. Here our team has simplified the steps to help you better navigate AdWords’ policy and process.
**Before filing a complaint, it’s very important that you read all of the information in the trademark policy here.
- File a complaint here or via email email@example.com about the use of your trademark in AdWords ads so Google can investigate.
- Owners of the trademark rights to the term in question within the country in question can file a trademark complaint. For any other party to file a complaint, the trademark owner needs to send written approval to firstname.lastname@example.org verifying that the specific entity is “authorized to act on our behalf with respect to Google AdWords trademark matters.”
- Trademark owners do not need to be AdWords advertisers to submit a complaint.
- After filing a complaint, you’ll receive an auto-response email confirmation. Unless there’s an issue with your complaint, you won’t receive any more emails from Google until the investigation is finished.
- Trademark complaints are reviewed in the order they are received, so they are processed as quickly as possible, but Google is unable to provide trademark owners with a timeline of completion.
- During or after you submit a complaint, you can also authorize specific AdWords accounts to use your trademark, including your own AdWords account or those of any partners or affiliates you may have.
- To authorize specific AdWords accounts to use your trademark, you will need the CID numbers for each individual account you want to authorize.
- Once Google has concluded their investigation, the Google Advertising Legal Support team will send a confirmation to the email address listed in the complaint. This email will let you know what action has been taken on the ads in question.
- Google’s investigation may result in restrictions to the use of a trademark within ad text (ads using restricted trademarks in their ad text may not be allowed to run).
- Ad campaigns may use a trademark in ad text, providing the ad is in compliance with Google’s policy on resellers and informational sites.
- Advertisers can use a trademarked term within ad text if they are authorized.
- An ad can use a trademarked term in its text if either of these conditions is true:
- The ad text uses the term descriptively in its ordinary meaning rather than in reference to the trademark.
- The ad is not in reference to the goods or services corresponding to the trademarked term.
If your business, or another business you know, is still not making progress in restricting the use of their trademarked brand name after following the above process, please reach out to our analytics consulting experts or check out our PPC management services. We would love the chance to help your brand better navigate the complex world of digital media rules and regulations.