Stopping People From Bidding On Your Trademark – At Least On Google Adwords

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Sometime last year I got our attorneys working on filing to trademark several things that we hold. Every thing from ShoeMoney to clickshield to nextpimp and other items.

On September 25 2007 we received notice from the United States Patent and Trademark office that our trademark for SHOEMONEY had been approved:

Now we could always legally have gone after people who infringed on our trademark but one thing that always bugged me was the PPC Trademark bidding. Everytime I did a search for ShoeMoney all these jerk off companies would come up that were trying to make a buck off of my brand and that bugged me. (I am such a hypocrite at the same time as I do a lot of trademark bidding on the other end).

So now that we got our shiney new registered trademark I thought I would give it a test run and file with Google. I filled out this form and today I received this from the Google Adwords Team. (still waiting to hear from Microsoft and Yahoo but really do they matter? )

Its cool when you fill out the Google Adwords form for your trademark because you can give it Google Adwords Account ID’s that you give permission to use your trademark (like mine).

From: “Google AdWords Trademark Team”
Date: November 1, 2007 4:13:04 PM CDT
To: jeremy@shoemoney.com
Subject: Re: Google AdWords Trademark Complaint processed – SHOEMONEY

Hello Jeremy,

Thank you for sending us your trademark complaint letter. Your complaint
has been processed and the ad texts in question no longer include your
trademark: SHOEMONEY.

Please note, we only processed the exact trademark you submitted. If you
would like us to investigate variations or misspellings of your trademark,
please supply us with a list of the exact variations or misspellings and
we will review them.

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any additional questions or
concerns.

Best Regards,

Google AdWords Trademark Team

And now as you can see below only my Adwords account is able to bid on “shoemoney”

68 thoughts on “Stopping People From Bidding On Your Trademark – At Least On Google Adwords

  1. Pingback: My Ghillie » Stopping People From Bidding On Your Trademark - Atleast On Google …

    1. Ron Channon

      I am picking up this thread following a gap of some 14 months,however, I hope it creates some ongoing interest.
      Like ‘Shoemoney’ my company with the Reg trademark ‘Golfplan’ was also subject to trade mark scamming throughout 2007 and early January 08. I also complained to Google that same month and received exactly the same reply, it was subsequently removed from two competitors sites by Google themselves.
      Great, two months later Google announce they will allow bidding on competitors trademarks and the same competitors are back listed on Sponsored links directly above my No 1 organic position where I have been for the last 10 years!!
      My company markets golf Insurance within the UK see http://www.golfplan.co.uk I understand trademark bidding has been declared legal in the USA, but is it legal under English Law? I cannot believe any UK Judge would give it approval, so maybe it is just a matter of time before someone tests it in The British Law Courts.
      I have personally thought about being the first but I have no doubt it would prove very costly, and if I won it would be my financial loss and everyone elses FREE gain!! Maybe I should look for a ‘No Win, No Fee’ Lawyer ? RFC7

  2. Neon

    nice.. the real advantage is to block other people from bidding your trademark.
    there is no point for you to bid on the term shoemoney since you are already top of the result :D

  3. Catherine L

    Well done Jeremy. It was a smart thing to do as your Adwords campaigns will cost a whole lot less when you don’t have a heap of competition for your own name.

    I have been looking into trademarking, but it also takes several months over here. And we can’t actually stop anyone using our name unless they were using our logo, or trying to pass themselves off as us.

  4. JohnMu

    Congratulations on the trademark! Now log into Google Webmaster Tools and also get your 2 bad sitelinks removed :)

  5. JoeTech.com

    Congrats. I know the process can be pretty costly, having done a few myself, but I also know it feels great to have it done and know your name is secure.

  6. Burgo

    Just because you’re the top result isn’t a reason to completely neglect the paid search stuff, in my opinion.

  7. Ian Lee

    Hey, Google began policing trademarks again? I remembered working with their legal team way back when and they helped us monitor and removed trademark in AdWords. I thought they did away with this service? Guess it’s back! Nice.

  8. krillz

    Cool man, I bet some people will have some sad faces when they find out that they can’t bid on the term shoemoney anymore. It will be like, what the hell just happend :D

  9. krillz

    yeah well, he will be at the top of google for his own brand, even if the others have way better seo practices applied to their sites, it just how google magically works.

    ….hey who is that… arghhh ! google agents… noooooooooooooo!

  10. Alex

    If this makes you happy, so be it. A “good” trademark lawyer will charge you $5k. For something that takes 45 minutes to research and file. If anyone is looking to trademark, I would recommend that they do it themselves for $200. If your application gets rejected then I would encourage you to seek a lawyer and pony up the cash. I went through this exercise a couple of years back and found that yes it is nice to have a nice legal certificate from the USPTO, but on the other hand was it worth it? Hmmm, maybe or maybe not.
    If you are willing to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees I would argue that a certificate reflecting a Patent would be much cooler to have.

  11. The Foo

    correct me if I am wrong here — what i understand with trademarks is that someone else can come up and use the same name if they can prove that they are using it for another purpose either than the category you registered for. so basically multiple people can have/ use the name shoemoney if it is used for different purposes — unless of course you go ahead and trademark every possible use/ purpose/ situation for it. which may run you into tens or hundred of thousands.

    again — correct me if i am wrong but that is how i interpreted it doing research on the web.

  12. The Foo

    what i understand with trademarks is that someone else can come up and use the same name if they can prove that they are using it for another purpose either than the category you registered for. so basically multiple people can have/ use the name shoemoney if it is used for different purposes — unless of course you go ahead and trademark every possible use/ purpose/ situation for it. which may run you into tens or hundred of thousands.

    again — correct me if i am wrong but that is how i interpreted it doing research on the web.

  13. ghoti

    Just to clarify, John Chow didn’t put up that ad…I did. It was just to show that people can still bid on the keyword “shoemoney”.

    What Google did for Jeremy was to prevent anyone from using the trademark ShoeMoney in the ad text. That’s why the email from Google says: “the ad texts in question no longer include your trademark: SHOEMONEY”. But Google does not prevent anyone from bidding on trademarks in the US or Canada.

    The AdWords trademark policy is outlined at http://adwords.blogspot.com/2006/12/adwords-trademark-policy-part-1-of-2.html

  14. Cyrus L

    I realize you don’t have much experience with trademarks, but filing for an application has relatively little to do with an actual hold of the mark through use in commerce. I have extensive litigation experience with this through my domain name dealings. Basically, anyone can file a TM for anything they want. Proving it to be applicable is an entirely different story.

    For example, Apple probably has a TM for the word “apple” but people still sell granny smith apples and red delicious apples. People just can’t sell computers called Apples or anything in the gray area that would confuse consumers assuming the mark is neither descriptive nor generic. So, your registration at the USPTO has relatively little to do with your exclusive rights to the PPC terms but it’s not a bad first step to protecting the mark.

  15. Chis

    Usually the bid will be next to nothing for your trading name anyway (because of quality score), even if you don’t block other bidders you can pay 5p p/c to be top while the person at number 2 could be paying £1.50

  16. andrew

    Where does it say that they can’t bid on your trademark? “Your complaint
    has been processed and the ad texts in question no longer include your
    trademark: SHOEMONEY.”

    It was my understanding that you could only prevent others from using your trademark in their ad text.

  17. andrew

    yea and ebay has a multi million dollar ad budget. Why cannibalize your organic listings when you are dominating the first 3 spots.

  18. jim

    They’ve done studies that show both ctr’s improve when you have both the paid and organic results appearing high. By they’ve I mean some random blog I read, but it was pretty reputable. :)

  19. jim

    If it’s a trademark/service mark and you dont’ have it in your ad text, then they won’t let you big on the keyword for relevancy reasons.

  20. Web Hosting Reviews

    Even though it has already been shown that this won’t prevent someone from bidding on “Shoemoney” as a keyword, it’s still a good tip, as it does ensure that their quality scores will decrease, and the relevance of their ads will be lower (less likely to get a click from a user). Still a decent tip.

  21. urbanread

    The first thing that comes to mind after reading this post is to search google and see to that google does not display any of the ads on the right.Yes I did verify myself.

  22. Tony Smith

    I’ve been wondering if I could get the name of my webcomic copyrighted somehow, especially since I own the domain name as well. Hmmm….this is food for thought. Thanks.

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  27. Dave O'Brien

    What about part#s or model#s of products? Can these be trademarked and then have Google stop others from buying these keywords and using the keywords in their Google text ads?
    Have issues with sites trying to hijack a leading mfr’s product brand and part/model numbers to drive traffic to their site because this brand and its products have high level of conversion from google online shoppers. The mfr wants the traffic going to their site first, not to CSEs, shopping sites, marketplaces (ebay, buy.com, amazon) or ecom sites.
    This mfr has ebay and amazon buying their brand and product names to drive traffic from Google to their sites where used product is displayed or unathorized resellers. Also finding authorized ecom resellers using mfr’s brand and product names to drive traffic to their site/store and configure the landing page to offer competing products with next to that mfr’s product. Even have 3rd party tech support sites using mfr’s brand and products to drive tech support visitors away from mfr’s free tech support. This is hurting the mfr’s brand online and hurting their overall sales. Lots of bad behavior.
    Hoping their is a solution using trademarks and Google unauthorized use. Mfr’s should be able to protect their brand and product names, part#s and model#s online.

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