Avery Labels worked hard to establish its brand among the consumers as the premier retailer of label product as well as providing software solutions through their design and print online tool and one-stop premium printing service, “We Print.” As a result, when consumers search online for label products, Avery is typically the top-of-mind brand, making Avery the envy of its competitors. A few of those competitors recently attempted to benefit from Avery’s category-leading position by using the Avery trademark on their digital marketing ads without Avery’s permission, which not only drove up Avery’s ad costs and cut into its results, but was a clear case of trademark infringement.

Quick rundown of how this is benefited

• Hijacking the Avery trademark improved the relevance of ads on searches that include “Advery” keywords.
• The relevance boost not only improved the quality scores of the competitor’s ads, thus improving how often they were served to consumer who searched for Avery, it is also lowered their cost to advertise.
• Lower cost enabled the competitors to be more aggressive in their bidding , which unfairly inflated Avery’s cost per click on brand searches.

For many organizations, it’s easy to overlook trademark hijacking in online advertising because of the variety of publishers and networks that serve ads, but a three part recipe of intelligent technology, diligent management and legal support can turn the tide. This was the mixture that enabled us to stop these rogue competitors of Avery in their tracks. A quick look at the strategies we used to regain control of the Avery trademark in digital marketing reveals a few best practices which should assist organizations in their efforts to identify and overcome similar trademark infringement challenges and stop them from boosting competitors and hurting the trademark owner.

Catch hijacker’s in real-time with intelligent technology

To catch competitor’s using the Avery trademark in their ad copy without Avery’s authorization, we partnered with The Search Monitor, a company that tracks brand and trademark use on paid, organic and local self marketing. The Search Monitor delivers daily report of the offending ads, including the names of trademark hijacker’s details of their ad copy, time and date of each violation, screenshot and destination URL.

Put violator’s on legal notice with publisher

Citing the evidence laid down on our daily report we leveraged The Search Monitor, to file trademark violation notices with publisher’s Bing, Google, Yahoo. After verifying the reported violation, respected publisher pulled the offending ads, including the name of trademark hijacker’s.
Avery’s Competitors
Undeterred by publisher’s pulling its ads, one Avery competitor continued to show up repeatedly in our daily reports. Every time its violations were reported to the publisher’s its ads get removed.

Impacting the Bottom-line

Stripped of their ability to hijack the Avery trademark to increase the relevance of their ads, Avery’s competitor especially the competitor A, could no longer afford to aggressively bid on Avery brand keywords, artificially driving up Avery’s costs. As a result, Avery’s brand CPCs dropped substantially by 64%. Even though publishers have strict Trademark policies hijacking remains a common practice in digital advertising, partly because often it gets overlooked by organizations that own the trademark.