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You’ve spent countless hours researching, developing, and implementing the perfect logo, tagline, and other trademarks for your brand. Why wouldn’t you put the same level of effort into protecting it, once it’s created? Your trademark is your brand’s unique identifier that helps signal to consumers exactly which products are yours. Don’t let counterfeit products and scammers capitalize on your hard work and put your brand image at risk. Whether your brand is large or small, you will need the proper trademark monitoring plan to ensure your trademark, and brand, are well-protected online.
Trademark monitoring is the process of searching websites, social media, and online marketplaces for unauthorized sellers using your existing trademarks like logos, phrases, packaging, and more. It is essential for brands to monitor for digital trademark infringements so they can be addressed as quickly as possible when they are found. It isn’t enough to simply deal with trademark infringements when a shopper or brand employee brings them to your attention. By then, counterfeit products with your trademark have likely already gotten into the hands of shoppers, and the damage to your brand image has already been done. Trademark monitoring is a proactive service that can not only protect your brand image but save your brand hundreds of thousands of dollars in a trademark infringement lawsuit.
Trademark monitoring services scour the web for infringements and alert brands when there is a possible threat to address. An online trademark monitoring service can be an individual or company, like lawyers, or software that automatically scours the web for your brand.
Because trademark monitoring software can track various sites all across the globe nonstop, it is far more effective and efficient (both on time and cost) than hiring employees to scan for these infringements.
There are simply too many online places where trademark infringement can appear for an individual to search for alone. Personal websites that can be difficult to find, online marketplaces and even social media platforms are popular places for trademark infringements to appear on counterfeit goods. Not to mention, brands need to monitor sites across every country in which they sell their products.
A trademark monitoring service makes the search for infringements far more efficient, as the software can scan sites 24/7 and make it easier than ever to address infringements when they arise.
It may seem like large businesses and enterprises are the only ones who need to worry about trademark infringement, but that is not the case. According to Cision PR Newswire, “four out of every five small and medium-sized companies in the world suffer from counterfeits and brand abuse on the internet” (Counterfeiting on the Internet).
No matter what size your company is, your trademark could be at risk of being infringed and used on counterfeit products. It’s getting easier for these products to be sold online every day, with more and more shoppers buying online than ever before, and it’s a growing threat your brand needs to be prepared for.
When your brand is ready to invest in a trademark monitoring service, you will have a few options. The two most popular for protecting your trademark are hiring a lawyer or law firm to monitor your trademark for you or utilizing trademark monitoring software.
Hiring a lawyer or law firm to monitor your trademark for you can be beneficial because they can immediately assist in getting infringements taken down when they are found. They can also help ensure you are not infringing on existing trademarks if you are at the start of your brand journey and need to develop the perfect trademarks for your brand.
On the other hand, law firms may not have the robust technology of trademark monitoring software to search every part of the internet for infringements and catch counterfeits before they can spiral out of control.
Before making any decisions on hiring a law firm or third-party service provider, it is important to gain an understanding of how your trademarks are being used online. Fortunately, there is a range of tools available that can assist you in this process. Here are 8 valuable tools that will help you assess the online use of your trademarks:
1. Social media monitoring: Many businesses use social media to promote their products, and it’s also a common place for infringements to appear. It’s important to monitor your trademark on social media, including any hashtags using your business name, to prevent unauthorized use.
2. Domain name watch: Regularly check domain registrations for any that might be similar to or misuse your trademark. This can be done through WHOIS searches or services like DomainTools. Monitoring domain registrations can help in identifying potential cybersquatting or misuse of your brand in domain names.
3. Google Search: Google’s search engine is an invaluable tool for self-monitoring of trademarks. To track potential infringements, simply input your trademark term into Google. This includes names, phrases, or even logos (using Google’s image search option). Regular searches can help you spot unauthorized uses of your trademark online. However, this manual approach may be time-consuming, so it’s wise to balance it with other business activities.
4. Google Alerts: Google Alerts streamlines the trademark monitoring process. By setting up alerts for your trademark, you receive automatic email notifications whenever new content matching your search term appears online. This proactive approach helps in quickly identifying potential infringements as they occur, saving valuable time and resources.
5. Google Ads and Keyword Planner: These are effective tools for identifying trademark misuse in online advertising and web searches. Start by examining if your trademark is being used in online ad campaigns, which might indicate misuse. Then, utilize the Keyword Planner to understand how often your trademark is searched and the context of these searches. While these tools won’t directly reveal infringers, they provide insights into how your trademark is being used online, guiding further investigation.
6. USPTO’s TESS: The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) offered by the US Patent and Trademark Office is a digital tool for detailed trademark searches. TESS allows you to conduct thorough searches using various parameters, including categories, classes, and even imagery associated with trademarks. This system is particularly effective in identifying similar or conflicting trademark applications early in the process, enabling proactive protection measures.
7. Ecommerce and marketplace monitoring: Keep an eye on major ecommerce platforms and online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba for counterfeit products or unauthorized sellers using your trademark. This can be done through regular manual searches and setting up alerts within these platforms.
8. Customer reviews: Paying attention to customer feedback and reviews can sometimes reveal unauthorized use of trademarks or the sale of counterfeit goods. Customers frequently report suspicious products or brands in their reviews. If you are facing significant problems related to counterfeit goods, it is considered a best practice to include a counterfeit disclaimer on your website. This way, your customers will be aware of the difference between an original product and a fake. You can also provide a form on your website for customers to report any counterfeit products, making it easier for you to take swift action.
Red Points is a Revenue Recovery platform that uses Trademark Monitoring Software to ensure that your trademarks are constantly protected. Our software scours the web 24/7 so infringements can be detected and removed as they emerge.
You don’t have to worry about initiating the process or manually dealing with complex IP issues. Instead, you can properly allocate your time and resources where your brand needs the most protection.
So, how do we do it?
Red Points monitors the surface web 24/7 for infringements of your trademark. Our system is designed for constant trademark watching and conducts keyword searches. We can scan marketplaces, social media, apps, and websites for potential trademark infringements. No stone is left unturned!
During the trademark tracking process, we will automatically wade through hundreds, if not thousands, of potential infringements. However, only a few of those will be legitimate infringements worth your time. That’s why we enable you to prioritize which potential trademark infringements require your attention via a high-risk shortlist.
The next step is to confront the scammers and make sure any trademark-infringing content gets removed. With Red Points you can automate takedown requests, ensuring that the whole process is as efficient and official as possible. This includes taking down infringing listings on marketplaces, fake accounts on social media, pursuing copy-cat stand-alone websites hurting the brand, and claiming domains using your trademark to divert traffic away from your brand.
Red Points’ Trademark Monitoring service doesn’t end at the takedown. Once these takedown requests have been sent you will also be able to have full visibility of the revenue you have recovered. Our performance dashboards enable you to discover the overall economic impact of your trademark watch coverage.
Red Points’ custom reports service allows you to request specific data and access information that you think might be relevant but is not directly accessible in the default dashboard. This includes data such as average days from notification to takedown or success rate by infringement type.
Trademark Monitoring is essential for any businesses looking to protect and preserve their intellectual property online. Now that you know everything you need to know about trademark tracking you can start making informed and active decisions about your brand’s IP.