“Infosec” Trademark Dampens Google’s Adword Revenue

Ok … so maybe the title is a little off … but it did dampen their revenue … at least some. Specifically, they’ve been loosing $10 a day from us. A few weeks ago I decided to try the whole Google AdWords thing out to help spread the word about NovaInfosec.com. I signed up and muddled around trying to understand everything and after a bit of stumbling around I was able to create an ad. It was nothing big as you can see below.

Picture of NovaInfosec Adword Ad

So at this point I was pretty happy and next went into generating keywords. This activity took a bit but I came up with around 12 keywords that seemed to fit what I was looking for. It did take a while to come up with those 12 keywords though. I started with around three times that but had to remove many since Google indicated they wouldn’t generate any traffic. Mmm? I wonder if they really meant to say it wouldn’t generate revenue for them… Anyway, I logged out and continued my daily routine, content that I might spread word of the site out to a slightly larger audience.

I checked in periodically to see if it was running but no luck. I expected this wait as Google claimed it could take up to three business days to review and start publishing the ad. After five days I called in, chatted with someone, and they flagged my submission to be reviewed ASAP. After about a day I didn’t notice anything so I logged back in and was surprise to find that my ad had been disapproved due to a trademark held for the term “infosec.” Really?

Picture of NovaInfosec Adword Rejection

I immediately picked up the phone and called Google to see how this obvious error could be resolved. I find it hard to believe that someone could get a trademark on the single word “infosec.” One note here … when paying Google money for using Adwords I found they offer really easy to find contact info. When I called their automated system almost immediately connected to a nice young lady. I think this shows who their customers really are… Anyway…

As expected this first-tier person – we’ll call her Alice – really couldn’t help me out but recommended that I contact the trademark owner, get permission, and have them submit a special form to Google. So while on the phone I headed over to the USPTO website, loaded up and perused their TESS search engine and there didn’t appeared to be anything relevant.

Picture of Trademark Search Results

As you can see above, out of the nine results the search only returned two that were listed as active and they were all phrases … not just a single term “infosec.” I was still on the phone with Alice so I mentioned this discovery. Unfortunately, she just went on with her scripted response saying that I would have to contact the owner of the trademark and have them fill out a “permission” form to resolve the situation. I politely noted to Alice that I cannot contact the owner since the trademark doesn’t exist and inquired if she could tell me who the owner was. Alice noted that she didn’t have access to this information. Not knowing what to do and it being probably near the end of her shift, Alice said that she’d be sending me an email with the contact info to go investigate further.

Well, we’ll see where this goes…


Do you think the term “infosec” should even be trademarkable? Today’s post pic is from JumpFly.com. See ya!

11 comments for ““Infosec” Trademark Dampens Google’s Adword Revenue

  1. May 21, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    #NOVABLOGGER: “Infosec” Trademark Dampens Google’s Adword Revenue http://t.co/zfLPd5k4 http://t.co/Inu1SfcI

  2. May 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    “Infosec” Trademark Dampens Google’s Adword Revenue http://t.co/Tixj9sYo < wtf?! Bits are dead.. Long Life Trademarks and Patents! #fb

  3. May 22, 2012 at 5:40 am

    “Infosec” Trademark Dampens Google’s Adword Revenue http://t.co/hINyqy2q

  4. May 22, 2012 at 10:21 am

    BLOGGED: “Infosec” Trademark Dampens Google’s Adword Revenue http://t.co/zfLKFvja //In case U missed last night.

  5. May 22, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    Wow! RT @novainfosec: Huh? Someone apparently holds a trademark on the term “infosec”. http://t.co/Td0dKqdX

  6. May 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Just some updates from over in the Twitterverse…

    So apparently someone in the UK has this trademark filed by organizers of an infosec conference.

    secboffin: @angelinaward @novainfosec yes, by the organisers of Infosec conference: http://www.ipo.gov.uk/ohim?ohimnum=E4936456 http://www.ipo.gov.uk/domestic?domesticnum=2415238

    And j4vv4d has similar issues and names the organizers as Reed Exhibitions.

    j4vv4d: @BrianHonan @angelinaward @novainfosec indeed its a trademark of Reed exhibitions. The company who run INFOSEC europe of many things.

    Still all this is UK-based. I wonder if those trademarks apply in the US?

  7. May 22, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Another update… j4vv4d dug up the old letter they’d sent him. Looks like Reed had it registered in the UK and EU. There wasn’t any mention of the US.

  8. March 29, 2013 at 3:56 am

    What the what?! I just had the same thing happen. I wonder if there was an actual complaint or if it was just a brain dead piece of code that made a correlation.

  9. March 29, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Beau: I think it’s just some automated piece of code. Just to play it safe, Google makes you go through some big hassle of getting permission. Of course I couldn’t ever figure out who the owner was … at least in the US.

  10. erne100
    August 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    Any update on this topic? How did you resolve it?

  11. October 5, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Lol… No comment.

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