The rise of the internet is the single greatest advancement in recent history for business as a whole. Thanks to the internet, we’re able to connect with more people than ever before and reach larger customer bases to sell and market to. Of course, this does mean that there is more competition than before as well, but the potential to make money is greater than ever.
Due to increased competition, it’s also extremely important to keep your brand distinct and unique. But that is not to say just that you stand out from your competition due to clever or brilliant design, it’s incredibly important to protect your design and brand from trademark infringement. You must act to protect your intellectual property so that someone else can’t capitalize on all of your hard work.
Whether it’s by deceiving customers into believing that they’re purchasing from your company or just manipulating the market against you by using your trademark unfavorably, you absolutely must keep your intellectual property safe.
In today’s article, we are going to discuss a few essential steps you should take to protect your trademark online.
Get A Trademark
The first step in securing your company from trademark theft is to protect your trademark in the first place! Ensure through a trademark search that your desired trademark is neither substantially identical to or deceptively similar with a prior trademark application or registration, and make sure to protect the following key assets: The company name (ex. Apple), the company logo (The famous apple), the company slogan (Think different), and the company’s brands (iPhone, iPad, iPod).
A successful trademark protects you from third parties trying to deceive your customers by providing you with exclusive rights to the use of your name, logo, slogan, and brands. This means you now have an actual actional means to protect your trademark since you can clearly show that it’s registered. That trademark is the foundation you use to build a lawsuit against an infringer, for instance.
Finally, an additional benefit of registering a trademark is that it instantly makes your brand more valuable. This is especially true if you ever decide to take your company public or are trying to sell it. A trademark builds consumer confidence in your brand.
Social Media Protections
Considering the deep reach of social media in so many people’s lives, it would be ludicrous not to have a social media presence for your company. Therefore, it should be obvious that all the social media handles that could tie to your company should be under your control. Not doing so is putting your company at an entirely unnecessary risk. The risk is even greater if you own only a small business online and don’t have the influence of larger long time players in the game like Apple or Nike.
Since social media handles are handed out on a first-come-first-serve basis, it’s entirely possible for you to lose out on your ideal handles. This will cause serious problems if customers are trying to reach out to your company. In a worst-case scenario, a wicked third party can create negative experiences for your customers on social media. When you have an established trademark, make sure to reach out to at least try and recover social media handles relevant to your trademark. Most social media companies have a trademark infringement dispute process to which you can apply. This should be your first step after completing your trademark.
After you have established credibility with the social media website, register and create pages, handles, and usernames that are relevant to your company. Considering the wide variety of social media platforms on the web, this can seem a daunting task.
However, we recommend you at least complete this step with the largest social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
You’ve managed to secure a trademark and also the social media handles that are relevant to your company. However, this is not enough on its own. In order for your trademark to continue to be valid throughout the years, you need to continually enforce and protect it. If you fail to do so, your company is at risk of losing trademark protection. If you don’t protect it, you will lose it. As a result, you are expected to be proactively searching for instances of trademark infringement by competitors online. This can be done internally by an employee, or you can even hire special trademark lawyers or trademark protection companies to keep an eye out on the web for you.
In addition to actively seeking out trademark infringements, your company needs to create a social media trademark infringement policy that can show due diligence and preparation by your company in a court of law. Take these steps and you will be able to keep your trademark alive, healthy, and under your control.
Ultimately, the fight to protect your trademark online begins and ends with you. The law places the burden of responsibility on you and proving that your trademark is something worth protecting.
Get started on protecting your trademark as quickly as possible. Register your trademark, secure social media handles, and create a system that actively seeks out trademark infringement. If you fail to do so, you’re leaving one of the most valuable parts of your company at humongous risk.
Use it or lose it, your trademark and brand are depending on you.