Protecting Your Brand
Brand protection is not used for celebrities and multinational corporations alone. Every business builds goodwill through its name and it is important for you to protect your brand from individuals who would want to build their business off of your hard work.
Brand protection involves protecting your intellectual property (IP) against counterfeiters, pirates, and infringers of other types of IP, such as color mark, trade dress, trademarks, and design rights. Protecting your IP not only prevents the loss of revenue from a company, but also protects your company’s image, reputation, and overall value.
Essentially, brand protection protects your business against something known as “brand abuse.” Brand abuse refers generally to a party not associated with your business infringing on your business’ IP in order of to take advantage of your company’s hard work and well-earned reputation. Brand abuse can come in many forms. Some examples of brand abuse include:
Counterfeiting – Counterfeiting is the sale of fake or pirated goods that are deliberately made to imitate the products from an authentic brand. The fake product will use the logos and trademarks of your brand without permission in order to deceive customers into believing that it was made by your business.
Brandjacking – Brandjacking is the unauthorized use of your company’s brand to assume the identity of your company online. Brandjackers are attempting to deceive trusting customers into believing that they are associated with your brand.
Cybersquatting – Cybersquatting is when an individual or business claims a domain name associated with your brand in order to take advantage of your brand’s trademarks. Cybersquatters will often attempt to extort your company into paying exorbitant fees to gain control of the domain associated with your brand.
Cloaked content – Cloaked content is when an individual uses a brand or product name in hidden text on a website, most often in its metatags or keywords, in order to attract web visitors to their website through organic search results.
Rogue websites – Rogue websites are websites that are created for a malicious intent against a legitimate company by using its intellectual property through typosquatting (relying on internet users making typos in the address of legitimate websites) or imitation sites (websites that attempt to completely pass themselves off as the website of your authentic brand).
Trademark squatting – Trademark squatting is when an individual registers a trademark in bad faith. This often occurs when one party intentionally files a trademark application for a second party’s registered trademark in a country where said party does not currently hold a trademark registration. Resolving trademark squatting can be a difficult, costly, and time-consuming process and requires the intervention from a skilled attorney.
Social media impersonation – Social media impersonation is the use of a brand’s IP on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. The impersonator will then use these fake profiles to sell counterfeit products or services.
Trademark infringement – trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a brand’s trademark or service mark in connection with the sale of goods and/or services in a matter that will likely cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services.
Brand abuse can hurt a business by damaging its reputation, aggravating customers, redirecting traffic from its websites, and capturing sales for a competing product or service. All of these lead to the direct loss of revenue from a business.
It is vital that you protect yourself and your business from individuals who want to take advantage of your hard work and the goodwill associated with your brand.
If you are a business owner who wants to learn more about protecting your brand from brand abuse, one of our attorneys can speak with you about your unique matter.
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