We mentioned in our first article Google’s changes of policies recently, so if you do find a competitor abusing your trademark in the copy of their ad and decide to submit an infringement via the google complaint form, please do not worry about being slightly perplexed when trying to fill it out. You might remember Google does not allow trademarks in the ad text, but they can use them in the display URL. You go to the Google Ads support page that describes what is and what is not allowed. However, reading this might leave you with more questions the answers.
First, read Google Ads Trademark Rules which is part of our series on how to protect your brand in paid search. This piece explains in the easiest way possible what Google allows per region.
Once you have read this article and you come to the point where you believe that the ad violates Google’s rules, follow the steps below. In this post, we explain the steps required to manually submit an ad for review by Google.
One thing to double check before starting this process which takes around 5-7 minutes is to make sure you have a registered trademark in the country where violation was found.
As a digital marketer you will have plenty to look after, and normally very little time especially when trying to find potential trademark infringements. Uncovering trademark infringements or non-compliance in your affiliate program if you have one takes a lot of time and effort. As you can imagine you have countless keywords, millions of locations and times of advertising that falls out of the regular 9-5, and on top of that you have advertisers that use evasive tactics and techniques to avoid being caught, it is literally like Tom & Jerry (cat & mouse) Almost impossible to catch!
An automated paid search monitoring solution, like AdPolice Compliance Monitoring tool, actively monitors 24/7 to see who is bidding on your brand. You get everything down to the hour including full ad copy, what search engines including real time screenshots as the tech recreates real user queries.
To submit potential trademark violations to Google for takedown, is to have the correct registered trademark in the country where the ad was found. For example, if you want to submit a EU ad to Google for review, you must have your registration information for your EU trademark.
If you do not have a registered trademark, Google does accept claims for rights of exclusive use for well-known brands which may not yet be registered. This concept of “active” rights, however, only applies in countries whose legal systems derive from common law (US, UK, Australia, Ireland, etc.)
If you don’t have the trademark information for each country on hand the following links gives detailed information onwhat is allowed from a global to local view.
IP Australian Trademark Search (Enter as a guest to search for your trademark)
Once you have found a trademark infringing ad and have your trademark registration information handy, you are ready to submit a trademark complaint to Google via this submission form. On the first page of the form which you can see below, you enter the relationship to the trademark owner so in this case that would be you unless you have authorized somebody else to act on your behalf such as a tech provider like AdPolice who are doing your submissions for you. Fill out all relevant contact information and click the tick box to move forward. Just so you are aware the tick box allows google to inform the infringer that you have processed the complaint against them.
On the following page, you will need to specify the infringement details, again another change from google means you can only enter a maximum of 10 examples. This means 10 brand-bidders, and this should in theory block all ads from this brand-bidder. As you might be aware some brand-bidders have hundreds if not thousands of ads. Enter the country the registration number and click NEXT.
For the next step, you enter the ad details of the infringement you are reporting. From this page you can select the scope of complaints and specify any advertiser you have authorized to use your branded terms. At the bottom of the page you enter the details of the ad you are choosing to submit.
A common question we get asked is: “What is the difference between submitting a complaint against specific advertisers at issue vs. submitting a complaint against all advertisers?”
When you submit a complaint against the specific advertisers at issue, Google will review all advertisements included in each submission, and will remove the advertisements that violate the Google Ads Trademark Policy.
When you submit a complaint against all advertisers, Google will attempt to limit non-authorized use of trademark in a manner that violates their Trademark Policy. The limitation applies to non-authorized advertisers in the same country and industry in which the trademark is registered.
Pros of submitting a complaint against all advertisers:
Submitting a complaint against “all advertisers” may prevent certain use of the trademark by non-authorized advertisers.
Cons of submitting a complaint against all advertisers:
Failure to submit a complete list of authorized advertisers, including Google Ads customer IDs, may result in the removal of advertisements using your trademark by valued partners. This list of authorized advertisers must include advertisers in all countries in which you submit complaints.
In addition to the Google Ads IDs of your authorized partners, you will also need to include your own Google Ads ID, otherwise Google will not show your ads.
Some non-compliant use of trademark by non-authorized advertisers do “slip through the cracks” despite a complaint against “all advertisers.”
We recommend that if you are not able to produce a complete list of all authorized Google Ads customer IDs, including authorized advertisers in all countries in which you submit complaints, you should select a scope of complaint against specific advertisers only. This will prevent the unintended removal of advertisements by authorized advertisers.
If you are able to produce a complete list of all authorized Google Ads customer IDs, including authorized advertisers in all countries in which you submit complaints, you should select a scope of complaint against “all advertisers.” When a complaint against “all advertisers” has been processed and filed, you will benefit from an additional level of illicit trademark-use prevention. One downside of this approach, however, is that you will need to update your list regularly as you start working with new authorized advertisers and cease working with others.
On the last page of the Google form, you can enter any clarifications surrounding your complaint. This is not a necessary step, however, you will be required to select the checkboxes at the bottom of this page before continuing to the submission step.
On the final page you can review all the information you have entered so far. Once you have confirmed this is correct, scroll to the bottom, complete the captcha, and select “Submit” to complete your manual submission.
Our customers typically submit between 10 to several thousand trademark violations per month in many different geographies. Going through this submission process manually for each brand bidder is extremely time consuming.
Our Paid Search Monitoring tool is designed to find potential trademark infringements all over the world and at all times of day. Our technology searches for suspicious behavior on your branded keywords, making the impossible task of thorough collection easy. It is particularly adept at uncovering infringements when advertisers use techniques like geo-targeting and day-parting to avoid detection.
How does the AdPolice tool know what to look for? When you set up a AdPolice account, you specify which keywords you’d like to monitor, geographies, and frequency. If there are any domains, terms, or resellers/partners you’d like excluded from your monitoring efforts, you specify that in the tool.
Once the AdPolice compliance tool finds the infringements, paid search managers review the ads and then submit them in bulk to Google. Within the tool, all potential trademark violations are organized in one place, so once you have reviewed them and want to submit, all you need to do is review one ad from each domain to confirm that it is a good candidate for submission. Then AdPolice automatically creates a complaint letter for each of the engines containing all the potential violations you selected, your trademark information, and everything else that engines might need.
Once you have submitted a trademark complaint, it can take anywhere from 1-8 weeks before Google responds that they have taken action.
Google reviews the complaints to make sure that the ads you have submitted are in fact violations of their trademark policy. Since every search engine has slightly different rules and they vary by region, their review process includes a manual review by their legal team.
Below is an example of one of the types of responses you may get from the Google Trademark Team.