Google Ads can help you achieve total Google search results domination. By creating strategic ads, you can have your ads show up for the top searches potential customers make. You can focus your efforts on specific keywords and not worry about the ones you rank organically for. Except this leaves the door open for your competitors.
What do you do when you discover your competitor is using your trademarks to optimize their own Google Ads? Now their ads are proudly sitting directly above your hard-earned top organic rankings.
There are a few things you do to stop them, let’s discuss how you can protect your trademarks online.
Verify With Your Attorney
Before you take any action, you need to talk to your trademark attorney. The first thing you need to do is confirm what you have ownership over. Then you need to verify what you are legally allowed to do.
Once you know what you own and what you can do, you are ready to start protecting your company and brand.
Go Directly to the Source
Your first step is to let the offending company know that their ads include a registered trademark in their ad copy. The notice should also include that this is a violation of Google’s advertising conditions.
Have your trademark attorney write your cease and desist letter. This way, you don’t risk doing more harm than good. People tend to pay more attention to legal letters, so you are more likely to get results if your lawyer sends the letter instead of you.
Chances are that the offending company knows that they are using the trademark. Hopefully, they will stop now that they have been called out.
Let Google Know
Your next step is to go to Google and report the violation. You can use their Trademark Complaint Form; it will only take a few minutes to complete. It will then take a couple of weeks for a response.
Before you go down this road, Google won’t investigate your competitors using trademarks as keywords. They will only investigate trademarks that are a part of ad text. Any offending ads get removed by Google.
Authorize Approved 3rd Parties
At the same time that you are reporting violators, you need to let Google know who is approved. This is another straightforward form you need to fill out.
Continue to Monitor
Your job is not over. Unfortunately, there is nothing to stop your competitors from beginning to use your trademarks again. This means you’ll need to monitor continuously.
If you discover someone using your trademarks again, then you need to repeat the steps we’ve previously discussed.
There are a few things you can do to reduce the damage to your company and fight back. Before you start fighting back, you need to weigh the cost and benefit to taking these actions.
Your first option is to start bidding on your own branded keywords. It sounds frustrating to bid on your own branded keywords that you already rank organically in the top for. But this is the only way to dominate the search results.
The second option is to bid on your competitor keywords. Just know that you are now starting an arms race with your competitor. You may find that these strategies of playing their own game only results in increased costs without a lot of return.
The third strategy is to click on their ads every morning and exhaust their daily budget. This strategy can be quite time consuming depending on how large their budget is. It is also a bit childish and not effective in the long term.
Talk to a Lawyer
If the above efforts are not giving you the results you want, your next step is to speak with a lawyer. They can advise you on the next steps you can take to legally force someone to stop using your trademark.
An experienced intellectual property legal team can help you initiate a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Contact us today and let us help you stop your competitors from profiting off of your trademarks.