Trademarks are essential to help brands stand out and be easily identifiable for consumers. They also serve as an important protection against counterfeit sellers and products. With more businesses appearing online every day and a growing number of counterfeit products on the market, it’s essential for brands to take the proper steps to register and protect their trademarks.
Trademarks are a bit like fingerprints for brands. These unique phrases, logos, marks, or other design aspects serve to help consumers quickly identify which brand a product is coming from. According to Harvard, trademark infringement occurs when an existing logo, phrase, or other identifying feature on a product or packaging “is likely to cause consumer confusion as to the source of those goods” (Overview of Trademark Law).
While there are cases of unintentional trademark infringement, infringements also occur when counterfeit sellers intentionally trick consumers into buying a product which they believe is coming from a legitimate brand. This hurts the consumer, as well as the brand being infringed upon.
Trademark infringement litigation can be extremely costly and time-consuming for a brand, whether they are the ones taking legal action, or are defending their trademark use. It is important for brands to take proper preventative measures to ensure they won’t have to face this challenge down the road. To ensure that they aren’t infringing on an existing brand, as well as protect their unique trademarks, here are steps brands can take to prevent trademark infringement:
Before registering your trademark, conducting an exhaustive trademark search is a must. The amount of new brands and marketplaces is ever-growing, and even the most unique logo or phrase could already be in use by another brand.
A good place to start when running your trademark search is to define the market for your product(s). Will your brand sell products only in your own country, or are you hoping to sell to the global market? Are your products going to be filling the shelves of brick-and-mortar shops, or existing solely on online marketplaces? This will help you determine where you need to begin your trademark search and understand if you have a strong, unique brand trademark.
Is there a product with a similar trademark already? Is your trademark misleading to some other brands? These questions will not only help you get a better understanding of the brands doing well in your market, but it will allow you to create a brand name and other strong, unique trademarks that will serve as your brand identifiers and help you avoid infringing trademarks on existing brands.
Once you have conceptualized a strong brand and cross-referenced your logos and branding with existing brands, you will want to ensure your branding is protected. In order to enforce your trademark, it needs to be properly registered. This will ensure you can address counterfeits if you find them using your brand’s trademarks and is an essential step to protect your unique idea.
If you are registering a trademark in the United States, you can file through USPTO. Costs of trademark registration vary depending on the type of application you file and other factors, usually falling in the range between $225 – $400.
Registering your trademark doesn’t mean your brand will be automatically protected. You will still have to keep a close eye online in order to monitor any possible misuse of your trademark. This work can be done manually, or with the help of a trademark monitoring service like Red Points.
A good trademark monitoring service employs technology to automatically detect potential trademark infringements 24/7. With a service like Red Points, the removal process is started immediately when a trademark infringement has been detected. This addresses the infringement quickly and gets to the root of the problem, so you won’t be left playing trademark infringement whack-a-mole with counterfeiters that come back faster than you can address them on your own.
When you do find an infringement of your trademark, it is essential to address it as quickly as possible. Infringements can be detrimental to your brand image, and time is of the essence when it comes to preserving your brand.
Contact your legal team or go to attorneys who can handle infringements for you as soon as they are discovered. While the legal process may be time-consuming, legal penalties and sanctions can be one way to prevent scammers from further infringing on your trademark.
Luckily, taking legal action that can be costly and time-consuming isn’t the only option for brands addressing trademark infringements. In fact, it may not even be your best choice when it comes to quickly address these infringements, because time is of the essence in these cases to protect your reputation and prevent your brand from being devalued.
This is another instance in which a service like Red Points can make this process far easier and more efficient. Not only does the service constantly scan for infringements, meaning it can find them nearly as soon as they enter the online market, but it can initiate the take-down process for you and could potentially save you the time and money of taking legal action.
Protecting your brand from trademark infringement doesn’t have to be difficult. Whether you are at the beginning of your brand journey or your business is booming with your existing brand, these steps will help ensure your brand is well protected.
Ready to take the next step to make infringement protection easier, less costly, and more efficient? Automatically find and remove infringing products and sellers with Red Points’ online brand protection software.
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