Register your trademark: a solution to brandjacking

by Emma Jeanpierre

How to rhyme business with security? Trademark with property? You have invested a lot of time and money to make your business see the light of the day and probably do not want a competitor to steal it. Guess what? There's something you can do!

The trademark application will offer you the monopoly of your brand’s identity and a much-needed security for the durability of your brand. Want to know why? How to proceed? Keep reading...

Brandjacking: the new risk
you should worry about

WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) is the UN body in charge of trademark’ applications. The WIPO website encourages companies to file trademark applications at a national level before initiating them on an international level. 

By doing so, you make sure that there is no existing trademark on your country/region that could block the international procedure

If your business is located in France, you can start now to file a trademark application. If you are a step further or from another country, you can file an international trademark application here. But does it mean that your trademark is safe? Nothing is less certain.

Is your trademark safe online?

The answer is no. Have you ever heard of brandjacking? If not, you will soon be familiar with this odd term.

Other threats also roam around your website such as malware (server designed to damage a network), phishing (theft of user data), data breaches, privacy threats...

What is brandjacking?

This portmanteau word is made up of two words: “brand” and “hijacking”. This common practice on Google is a competitive practice that consists of paying for keywords that belong to another brand, WITHOUT asking for permission, to attract more clicks for your ads. 

Some sectors suffer more from this practice than others. Hospitality and catering are the first victims. Some well-known platforms such as Booking or Tripadvisor take part in this phenomenon.

brandjacking-booking

And for your business: what does that mean? Your ad will not appear at the top of the SERP anymore but your competitor’s will. 

Best practice: register your
trademark on Google

You can’t “register your trademark” on Google as you would on WIPO, but what you can do is protect your trademark by purchasing the keywords related to your brand. 

Brandjacking and Google’s legislation

Brandjacking is not forbidden on Google. Yet, Google has set up some rules to frame keyword’s acquisition and trademark’s safety: 

Google abides by local trademark laws and requires that Google Ads ads don’t infringe third-party trademarks. We recognize that third parties may properly use trademarks in certain situations, such as by resellers to describe products.

If a trademark owner submits a complaint to Google about the use of their trademark in Google Ads ads, we will review it and may enforce certain restrictions on the use of the trademark.

Google

Google also created a Google Ads Trademark Consult Form to ease the filling of any demand related to the wrong use of your brand domain online.

How to register?

To protect your trademark against brandjacking, you can purchase the keywords related to your brand domain from the Google Ads platform. To do so, proceed as follows:

google-ads-campaign-option

  • Create a new campaign. Choose the objective “website traffic” and “search”. The search network is: “the group of search-related websites where your ads and free product listings can appear. When you advertise on the Search Network, your ad can show next to search results, on other Google sites like Maps, Shopping, Google Images and on the websites of Google search partners” (Google).
  • Choose wisely the keywords related to your trademark. If you want, you can select your trademark name only.

  • Bid on the(se) keyword(s). While setting up the bid, you can indicate the maximum CPC you are willing to pay. If you prevail, you obtain the(se) keyword(s).

  • You will then be able to sponsor your keywords according to the budget you’ve set. When users do a search that includes your keyword, your ad will appear at the SERP top. Yet, you should not neglect the quality of your ad, as it also comes under consideration on the SERP ranking. 

To register your trademark on WIPO’s website is essential but not enough. The safety of your brand online depends on the acquisition of your trademark on Google Ads, a highly recommended expense that will ensure your durability on the SERP. The procedure to protect your trademark against brandjacking may be quite complex at first sight. 

Want more information about this topic? Don't hesitate to contact our dedicated team. We'll be pleased to help you!

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