Brand infringement – Learn how to protect your trademark portfolio

Policing trademarks has never been more difficult. Globalization and the proliferation of online commercial channels means it’s harder than ever to find and register a unique mark. In addition, with the ubiquity of social media and advancements in marketing technology, it’s also much easier for businesses to create and promote brands in amazing new ways. This is especially true for smaller brands and start-ups that no longer face the traditional barriers to competition on a global level. As a result, there are more brands in the market, more channels to monitor and an overall greater likelihood of infringement, be it intentional or otherwise.

Just consider that 8 out of 10 C-level executives confirm that brand infringement is on the rise 1. Valuable brands are more vulnerable than ever before. And it is up to brand owners, together with trademark professionals, to ensure they are not the next one to suffer potentially long-lasting damage to their brand.

A company’s brand equity is often the one of the most important IP that they hold, so protecting it with vigor is imperative. The graveyard of commerce is littered with companies whose brand was not protected, never to recover.

Detecting potential infringers speedily provides a brand owner the best opportunity to address the infringing party quickly and efficiently – before damage is done. Your brand is your promise to your customers and today more than ever, reputation is critical to success, so investment in protection is an obvious decision. How should trademark owners manage their brand risk within limited budget and time constraints?

Be proactive – it’s never too early to be thinking about protecting a brand  – whether you are still developing it, have just launched it or have been using it for years. Be proactive and watch your trademarks to identify potential conflicts early, ideally at the point new trademark applications are filed or published. If your brand operates globally (do you have a website?)or even has the potential to go global in the future, ensure you are watching in all relevant markets, even smaller ones.

Assess the risk – concentrate on those infringements that have the greatest potential impact on your brand’s reputation. Look at whether the trademark in question really does hurt your brand. Even if a mark doesn’t appear to be an infringement, it may in fact be one.

Secure your online rights – today web domains and social media usernames, hashtags, mobile app names and registered business names are just as important as the trademarks themselves. Make sure you secure and protect these as well.

With the trademark landscape changing so rapidly, you need to be vigilant and make use of all the resources at your disposal. CompuMark’s Watch service, for example, offers the most comprehensive set of data and provides results, on average, 14 days ahead of the competition2. This means that – thanks to our full array of expert local watch products – we can monitor your brand assets around the world to allow you to respond to potential infringements as quickly as they pop up. Our Watch solutions provide unmatched global reach, enabling you to cover all the countries and channels that matter— including emerging markets that other providers may overlook. For further information, please click here.

[2] Based on side-by-side comparison conducted by third-party attorneys in 2017.