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I recently identified 2 companies who are actively targeting ads through Google AdWords using our trademark (registered in the UK). I filed a complaint with Google, although they are not willing to remove these ads.

Please note that we will not be able to process this complaint for your trademark * because you requested that we remove all ads that are currently using your trademark as a keyword.

We do not investigate keyword complaints for trademarks, as described at http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?answer=144298. As a result, we won't be able to remove ads that are using your trademark as a keyword.

If Google allow other competitive firms to leverage traffic through AdWords off the back of an established brand where does that leave us? Must we also use AdWords to outbid our competitors on our own company name?

I'd be interested to know of anyone who has experienced something similar. If Google won't do anything to police this then is litigation the only option available?

EDIT

It seems Google have recently changed their policy on this and are no longer arbitrating trademark disputes when used in keywords, only in ad copy. This can't be good for search quality!!?

Google extends trademarks-in-ads policy to whole world

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The good news for you is that it is usually far cheaper for you to bid on your own trademarks than it is for competition to do so. In my experience, you can usually bid on your own trademarks and get the top position for 1 cent or 2 cents. This is because:

  • The click through rate will be higher for you because you are the official site
  • The content on your site will match very well because you already use those trademarks on your site
  • Your overall quality score will be "excellent" for these keywords.

Furthermore in my experience, you get additional traffic from AdWords. It isn't just cannibalizing from the organic traffic. That increased traffic leads to increased sales that makes it well worth your money to be paying a small amount for your trademark keywords.

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