Is Google correct to strike off 9to5Google, 5 years later for Trademark Violation?

Tech website 9to5Google.com had its ads stopped yesterday and without advanced warning by Google which run through both Google’s Doubleclick/Ad Exchange network and Adsense. Apparently 9to5Google earn income well into 6 figures per month. 9to5Google were told that Google’s Public Policy Team has decided that, after 5 years of publishing under the 9to5Google name, they had been violating their trademark. 9to5Google had also attended loads of Google events too.

Below is an exert from their Google Ad Manager –

I want to start by apologizing for the abrupt and confusing way that this issue was brought to your attention. This has been really frustrating – for both of us – as these issues are normally communicated internally in advance so that I am able to give you warning and clarify the issue. As you know, that did not happen in this case, and I apologize for that.

My Team Lead (—-, CC’d here) and I had a lengthy conversation about why this happened immediately and without an internal warning. Evidently, because this is a legal trademark violation, the policy team is required to act immediately. We still expected there to be a notification from our Policy Team, and we’re sorry on behalf of their team that it was not communicated more clearly.

With that said, we were not able to argue an appeal for this violation since it’s an explicit policy in the AdSense Ts&Cs. This was my first time encountering this violation, so I had assumed I could make a case for appeal, but it’s actually coming from the Legal Trademark team, above the Policy Team, and there isn’t any grey area for us to make an appeal.

We understand that you have been operating the site for many years and have even attended several Google hosted events without anyone bringing up an issue; however, our Legal Team must take action when they discover a trademark violation whether they discover it early on or much later.

We recognize that the situation is both shocking and frustrating and we’ve advocated on your behalf as much as we can. Since they will not grant us an appeal, we want to provide you with information for how you may legally use our trademark and if the conditions are reasonable, for you to submit a request.

In the meantime, your advertising strategy for 9to5google should be to continue to use DFP for ad serving, but to use other third party networks as your demand sources in order for you to monetize the site. My team and I are still here to advise you with monetizing your other sites and to support you as best as we can.

Please let us know if you have any other concerns.

So is this Google being over zealous or what? It seems odd Google has taken aim on this 5 years down the line, but I suppose that is the issue when you use “Google” in part of your website name when you are not “Google”.

So what are your thoughts on this scenario?

Source – 9to5Google

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