Trademark infringement is a serious concern today. If someone adopts a trademark that is confusingly similar to another brand with the aim of misleading customers, it is considered an infringement. The main aim of the infringing party is typically to steal the original trademark owner’s customers by creating marketplace confusion.
There are various forms of infringement. Earlier, the issue was limited to the opening of a brick and mortar shop with a name closely resembling that of another popular store. However, the internet enabled global economy has complicated the issue. Cybersquatting is a well-known form of online infringement. Here the infringing party registers a domain name that closely resembles that of another established brand. The cyber squatter may use this domain as an automatic redirect for a competing site or for selling competing products through a website hosted on it.
These are more or less obvious methods of infringement. A more subtle method is bidding on a brand’s trademarks as keywords in PPC advertising. For instance, if McDonalds wants to drive the users searching for KFC to its own site, the company can bid on keywords like ‘KFC’. If this happens, every time someone searches for ‘KFC’, McDonald’s ads will show up in the sponsored results.
This form of initial interest confusion is illegal. Preventing it is an important aspect of PPC management. If you want to protect your trademarks and brands at Google, prepare a list and apply for their registration. Next, file a complaint using Google Adwords Trademark Complaint Form. Once your claimed rights are verified, the search engine will preclude competitors from bidding on your brands in PPC advertising.