Part 2 of 2
by: Benjamin Lindberg, CR
In the last post, I wrote about the importance of protection afforded to trademarks, but didn’t specifically discuss Google’s take on the issue. Especially related to Google Adwords.
Trademarks and Adwords
If you search for a specific string on Google like “Designer Websites”, Google does a good job of giving you relevant organic results. However, that isn’t always the case with Google’s advertisements called Google Adwords. Imagine your company’s name is “Designer Websites” and a competitor pays google to show up when someone searches for “Designer Websites”. They will show up as the very first item seen and, what appears to be a link to you, may in fact be a link to their website.
This is more common than you might think. Even though it is frowned upon and considered very “Black Hat”, it’s complicated and difficult to remedy with Google when you aren’t protected with a trademark. Google says as much in their description of the process to handle a complaint.
So even though you may be a victim of a brandsquatter, you’re best protected with a trademark.
Another interesting development over the years that hasn’t raised as much direct harm on businesses is typosquatting. Typosquatting is registering a domain that is similar to a trusted site; think gogle.com or gooogle.com. You might mistype and land on a page that has the look and feel of where you intended to end up. In some cases, these sites may be an attempt to steal personal information. Recently a story came out about several of these sites generating more than 1 million data points based on this “black mining”.
The lesson here isn’t so different than thinking proactively about naming a baby – you have to run through a list of playground rhymes before settling on your final selection. I haven’t met any kids name Huck for a while. So be careful and do your homework to review any potential vulnerabilities.
Once again, the story comes back to the rights afforded to a trademark in comparison to those unprotected.
Also, if you haven’t heard the story about Target in Australia and their handshake trademark agreement with the U.S. company of the same name from 1962, it’s worth reading about.