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Google Classed Trademarked Name As Having Ordinary Meaning

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6 replies to this topic

#1 Concept


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Posted 11 September 2013 - 12:22 AM

Hey guys, 

First post! I am hoping you guys can help me.

My company has recently managed to get our business name trademarked. Particularly due to our business's success online with SEO we found that a lot of other businesses in the industry were trying to target our websites name. As a result, I filed a complaint through to Google (more info here: https://support.goog..../2562124?hl=en)

I got the following email back from Google.

Thanks for submitting your trademark complaint. 

Please note that we will not be able to process for your trademark (name excluded for now) at this time because we found descriptive references to the term in its ordinary meaning. 

If you disagree with the advertiser's use of (name excluded for now), you may contact the advertiser directly to resolve the dispute.

Best regards,

Have you guys had any experience with something like this. How can we get google to recognise our name as a trademark and to stop people from using it?

Im a newb in this area, so all help is very much appreciated icon_smile.gif

If you need more info, let me know.




#2 Alan Perkins

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Posted 11 September 2013 - 07:38 AM

Suppose your company name is Nathan's Bakery


Suppose a searcher searches for that.


So, that searcher has searched for the word "bakery", and other advertisers can trigger ads based on that search. In addition, those other advertisers may simply have a broad match keyword like "bakers", which triggers their ad when the searcher searches for Nathan's Bakery.


All this is fine and you can't do a thing about it. I'm guessing this is the situation you are in.


If those other advertisers use the words "Nathan's Bakery" in their ad text, they're on shaky ground. You can approach them and try getting them to stop it, either directly or via a lawyer, or you may in certain circumstances and territories be able to get Google's assistance.  But I'm guessing this is NOT the situation you are in.


A third alternative is if the searcher is searching for "Nathan's" - no bakery-type keywords - and other bakers are advertising, trading on the years of effort you have put in to getting the word "Nathan's" associated with "Bakery" to the extent where "Bakery" is understood. This is awkward. Technically they're OK to advertise (in most territories), but often it's not really in their interests to do so - and, if this is the case, you could try contacting them directly to point this out to them.

#3 Concept


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Posted 12 September 2013 - 08:04 PM

Thanks mate, 


Whilst my employer doesn't want me to give out our business name online (we have some nasty competitors that have resorted to black hat tactics, spamming us or hampering anything we do) I will do the best to explain my situation.


The company I am with in the mortgage industry.


Our business name is along the lines "Mortgage Approval Professionals" - not our real name, however you get the idea. The exact match term was not targeted very often, and as our business got a lot more traffic we found that people were searching for our name "Mortgage Approval Professionals" in order to find us.


This lead to competitors trying to target exactly "Mortgage Approval Professionals" in paid ads. Whereas before they hadn't because it wasn't  a popular term. 


We managed to get our name recognised as registered trademark by the Australian government (where we are) however Google doesn't seem to accept that.


I understand it is a bit of a grey area, however your expertise is appreciated.


How do you think I should approach this? 



#4 Jill


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Posted 13 September 2013 - 07:04 AM

As google said, the words in your trademark are too general, therefore they can't stop others from using them in their ads. 

#5 Alan Perkins

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 07:19 AM

This lead to competitors trying to target exactly "Mortgage Approval Professionals" in paid ads. Whereas before they hadn't because it wasn't  a popular term. 


With a name like that, it's quite likely that many competitors would be broad matching on "mortgage" and "mortgage professionals" - they don't need to be targeting the phrase or exact match "Mortgage Approval Professionals" in order for their ads to be triggered by searches for your brand term.


You could go to a lot of time and expense trying to sort the trigger keywords out, but you're unlikely to get anywhere.


The main thing to do is focus on the ad text - try to ensure that nobody is using "Mortgage Approval Professionals" (i.e. the exact words in your company name, in the exact order) in their ad text. Google would likely be of NO help here, but if you have a trademark in that territory then a letter from your solicitors to the offenders may help, especially if they could be seen as attempting "passing off" themselves as your company.

#6 bobmeetin


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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:09 AM

I ran this by my brother who is a patent attorney within biking distance of Google's main office in Mountain View.  His thoughts, paraphrased,




The person who presented the inquiry seems to have trademarked his company's name in Australia but apparently not in the U.S.  An Australian trademark has no weight in the U.S.

Also, this trademark seems likely to be descriptive of the goods and services and, if registerable in the U.S., would probably be placed on the Supplemental Register for weak trademarks rather than on the Principal Register for strong trademarks.  Under U.S. trademark law, Google is probably right.

He should consult a trademark attorney to get a better understanding of trademark law and practice.



#7 Alan Perkins

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Posted 17 September 2013 - 02:38 AM

That's all good advice but it applies to the USA. Google in Australia is a different legal entity and may act differently to how Google USA would act, according to Aussie laws and practices.

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