There are various ways in which a brand can come under attack from competitors or opportunists. When operating online without borders it can be especially difficult to control infringements. It is crucial for businesses and TM owners to protect themselves online.
Owners must take a strategic approach to protect their brands.
8 Ways to Protect Your Brand Online
- Get in first and register your trademarks in the jurisdiction that you operate. Ensure you register within the appropriate classes to give complete protection.
- Purchase relevant domains and social media tags.
- Use the (TM) or (R) marks next to any logo or mark you seek to protect to notify the public of your IPRs.
- Monitor the industry in which you operate and monitor words and phrases that are important to you by conducting regular searches online and on social media platforms.
- Connecting with potential infringers to make “trap sales” is permissible to try to obtain evidence of any infringement.
- Upon discovering infringement, ensure you deal with it. Lack of responsiveness could be a missed opportunity to take down a competitor platform and may lead to reputational damage and can even imply that you accept the third party use. However always seek legal advice before doing so to ensure you do not fall foul of any legislation surrounding groundless threats.
- Be ready to contact internet service providers such as web hosts with take-down notices and social media platforms such as Instagram to file a complaint and notice to remove infringing material.Generally, having a registered trade mark will make this process smoother, although a third party may also be liable through unregistered IP rights for copyright infringement or passing off. Consult the social media platforms’ terms of business to find their policy on taking down infringing content.
- Ensure that you yourself have policies and procedures in place to enable you to respond quickly to other parties that contact you about infringement including your policy on taking down infringing materials in your Website Terms and Conditions for your website visitor’s to view.