You Should Register Your Trademarks With Google
“Help! Someone is bidding on my brand terms and using my company’s name in their ads!” The recourse available to you in this situation is entirely dependent on whether your trademark is registered with Google or not. If it isn’t, you should go here and do that as soon as possible!
If someone is bidding on your brand terms and you don’t have your trademark registered with google it is not a violation of the Google policies. You can (and should) register your trademark with Google and then have their ads flagged, but until you register your brand terms with Google they have no responsibility to remove them from their ads. Once your claim does go through their ads will be flagged and removed.
On the flip side, if you are bidding on competitor terms and your competitor gets wise to your scheme and registers their trademark, make sure that you have some backup ads to run if and when your other ads get disapproved. If your ads have not yet been taken down yet, it means they probably do not actually have their trademark registered, otherwise, the ads would be taken down within about 48 hours.
There is definitely a risk involved in bidding on your competitor’s brand terms. The main concern here is angering someone who can come after your brand terms. If you do this with a well-funded company with a savvy marketing team they will return the favor and make you pay for trying to poach their traffic. So when taking the competitor conquesting approach, make sure our trademarks are registered with Google in order to keep yourself protected should they come after your terms. Then if anyone uses your brand terms you can submit a complaint and have them taken down.