The protection of brands as domain names, as well as the safeguarding and maintenance of internet addresses, is critically important for companies and brand owners.
BrandShelter has joined forces with leading legal experts who specialize in domain name law to offer competent on-the-spot help with domain disputes. We cooperate with several law offices specializing in IT, Internet, domain and media law.
With the introduction of numerous new generic top level domains (gTLDs) trademark owners are confronted with new challenges. Companies and individuals are able to protect their trademarks with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH).
BrandShelter offers so-called blocking services under numerous TLDs. Since a blocked domain is not functional, blocking services enable trademark owners to protect their trademarks from abusive registrations of third parties.
Online brand protection is the action taken by organizations to protect their Intellectual Property (IP) against misuse whether it may be deliberate or not. An organization’s IP can include domain names, trademarks, copyrights, patents and other unique physical and digital assets. IP misuse, or more commonly, abuse can include counterfeiting, IP infringements and any misuse of the brand name through fraud and cyberpiracy. A well thought-out online brand protection strategy should protect the reputation of the company/brand online, prevent loss of revenue and win the trust and loyalty of customers on a long-term basis.
Since misleading representation of one's own brands or their use in fraudulent activities, such as phishing attacks or product imitations, can seriously damage a company's reputation, revenue and consumer trust, a company must protect its Intellectual Property (IP) as it would any physical assets such as their premises and stock. Due to the “always on” nature of the digital world we have embraced, IP abuse can occur quickly and can spiral out of control if left unchecked, even unbeknown to the organization.
Companies, regardless of their size, should seek to protect their Intellectual Property (IP) with legal means to counter the threat of trademark or copyright infringement. These IP protection measures include securing trademarks, domain names, copyrights and patents. Which IP protection steps are appropriate depends on the company/trademark/juristiction and must be decided individually on a case by case basis. It is important to note that in certain juristictions, such as China (PDF), specific consideration may be needed to address localized requirements for IP and brand protection.
The problem of counterfeiting has been fueled by the digital age we now live in. It is impossible to tackle all cases of counterfeiting and so a strategy specific to an organization’s IP needs to be created. In the first instance, identifying the distribution channels of the counterfeiters is essential. Measures such as setting up a Google Alerts or using brand monitoring services are a good way to start to become aware of online mentions of the brand name. By actively communicating to consumers how counterfeits can be detected (and reported) as well as highlighting the quality of the original product, companies minimize the risk of customers being deceived by fakes, irrespective of how good they may look.
Whilst the implementation of a Brand Protection strategy is not a trivial task, it is one that every organization should be considering if they have not created one already. The benefits to the IP of the organization as well as the potential risks to the brand must be weighed up in each individual case. To protect an organization’s Intellectual Property (IP), measures such as registering brand names (PDF), reviewing the market through the use of monitoring services, and implementing practical steps to protect the revenues and reputation of the organization must be included to create a comprehensive to Brand Protection strategy. In doing so, the specifics of the markets, such as the Chinese market (PDF), must be taken into account.