Table of Contents:
Wix is an Israeli-based company, publicly listed in the US, that offers a cloud-based all-in-one visual website builder at an affordable price (starting at just $4.50/month or $12.50/month for unlimited bandwidth.)
A key benefit proposed by Wix is its intuitive, drag-and-drop website builder with over 500 ready-to-use templates, allowing its users to easily build a professional-looking and functional website even without any programming experience or skills and without hiring an expensive web developer.
Wix’s packages also include web hosting and design services (i.e., you can have a professional logo designed by Wix’s teams,) making the platform popular among small and medium-sized businesses, as well as startups, with over 200 million users worldwide.
With the popularity of the platform and the fact that it is actively used by many brands all over the world, however, there’s also the concern of security.
Specifically, the popularity of Wix and its ease of use has also attracted bad actors to the platform, making it one of the favorite platforms to build and host fake websites impersonating other brands.
In this article, we will cover all you need to know about fake websites and trademark infringement on Wix, how to prevent your brand from experiencing trademark infringement from Wix-hosted websites, and how to report trademark infringement on Wix to request takedowns.
A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, emblem, design, or logo that represents products and goods that can distinguish this product from other goods. A service mark works in the same way, but for a service rather than a product.
Registering a trademark is typically not mandatory, and the law will legally recognize a trademark that is recognized by the public (i.e., a restaurant name that is not registered but the restaurant has been in operation for quite some time.) In such scenarios, common law rights provide protection to these businesses.
However, you must be registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) before you can use TM (represents trademark) and SM (represents service mark) on your mark, and you’ll also get additional protection and benefits from registering your mark.
Considering in most states and countries, the process of applying and registering your mark is fairly straightforward and relatively affordable,
The term “trademark infringement” refers to a violation of the exclusive rights attached to a trademark (or service mark) in the form of unauthorized use of the trademark/service mark on related or competing products and/or services.
For example, attaching the brand name “Coca-Cola” to a product (especially a beverage product) without authorization from the Coca-Cola company is considered a trademark infringement.
Sometimes, even the usage of names that are not 100% similar to the registered trademark can be considered infringement. For example, 3M has won a lawsuit against a Chinese company that used the trade name “3N,” since substantial similarities can be proven in the court, even if the trade name isn’t exactly similar.
In another high-profile lawsuit example, Adidas filed a lawsuit against Forever 21 because the graphic used in Forever 21’s apparel was too similar to Adidas’s trademarked 3-stripes design. The lawsuit ended with a settlement agreement back in 2017.
With online presence becoming increasingly critical for modern businesses, many forms of trademark infringement can happen online, including but not limited to:
Online trademark infringement can be particularly dangerous to consumers and the trademark owner because they can be more difficult to recognize than in the physical world. Spotting a counterfeit product in a retail store, for example, is relatively more obvious than spotting a fake website that looks very similar to the legitimate site.
Impersonation of websites is one of the most common and dangerous forms of online trademark infringement.
Wix is increasingly becoming a popular platform used by bad actors to create, launch and host these malicious websites due to very simple reasons: Wix is affordable and easy to use.
Fortunately, Wix understood this issue and has implemented a strong abuse and rights infringement policy, complete with intuitive and easy-to-use reporting functions on the platform.
Any unauthorized infringement of copyrights, trademarks, service marks, and patents is prohibited on Wix.
Wix will respond to clear notices of alleged copyright infringement in accordance with the requirements of the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act.)
Wix also takes any unauthorized infringement of intellectual property very seriously and may terminate or suspend any accounts with repeated copyright/trademark/patent infringement, especially in the following scenarios:
However, If you are a Wix user and have received a false copyright notice and/or have had your website’s content or the whole website removed, you can submit a counter-notification to respond to this copyright notice. If the copyright owner is not answering the counter-notice, Wix may cancel the respective copyright strike and the content removal.
Wix reserves the right to terminate or suspend your account in their sole judgment if they believe a website has severely infringed a third party’s intellectual property rights.
Wix offers several different ways to report copyright/trademark/patent infringement on Wix:
You don’t have to be a registered Wix user to use Wix’s automated DMCA Copyright Complaint Form, and below is a step-by-step walkthrough to do so:
You must be the copyright owner or someone authorized by the copyright owner to be able to submit a copyright infringement, so if you answer “No,” you’ll receive the following error message.
Type a brief description of the copyrighted content in question. For the sake of this example, we’ll use, “The product photo on the homepage.”
You can provide a link to your website containing the copyrighted material, or you can skip this step by clicking “I don’t have a link to my content.”
Similar to the previous step, here you can submit a link to an online presentation in which your copyrighted material is presented, for example, on major social media profiles.
Again, provide a link to your copyright registration. We’d recommend not skipping this step if you currently don’t have access to your registration; try to obtain it ASAP.
Provide the URL of the website that is infringing your copyrighted material, and if possible, use the attachment function to upload any image proofs.
Wixbot will now ask for your basic information (name, email address, home/business address, etc.) These steps should be fairly self-explanatory, and you can simply follow the on-screen instructions.
You’ll then be asked to provide confirmation on the sworn statement (3 parts), and you’ll then need to provide an electronic signature by typing your full name.
For trademark infringements, Wix recommends reaching out to the infringing website owner directly first, but you can also submit your report here, where you’ll need to fill out the following form:
If you prefer to mail your complaint physically, you can do so and address your complaint to the following:
Attn: Copyright Infringement
500 Terry Francois Blvd., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Although you can report the infringing website on Wix and hope for a takedown, in practice, reporting copyright or trademark infringement may involve a legal process. Infringement litigation can be time-consuming and expensive, both for the trademark/copyright owner instigating the legal action or the company defending their trademark use.
With that being said, it’s better for businesses to take proper preventative measures not to infringe on an existing brand and protect their unique trademarked/copyrighted/patented assets from being abused by others.
With that being said, here are some best practices and measures you can do to prevent copyright/trademark infringement on Wix:
While the common law can protect your assets even when they are not registered for trademark/copyright/patent, properly registering them will provide you with stronger legal protection and other benefits.
Not to mention, registering a copyright, trademark, or patent is now very easy and affordable. If you are planning to register in the US, you can register your trademark through USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office), and it shouldn’t cost you more than $500 (the cost can vary but typically ranges between $200 and 400.)
An important consideration before registering your brand, however, is to conduct exhaustive research on the following:
Comprehensive trademark research won’t only help you avoid infringing trademarks on other businesses but also make sure you can create a strong and unique brand identity that is easily distinguishable by your audience.
Once you’ve successfully trademarked your IPs, make sure to actively use them on your content, promotions, and on your product. Having a strong brand presence offline and online will significantly help in scaring bad actors off, so they might be discouraged
Unfortunately, having a strong brand presence alone and properly registering your IPs won’t be enough to successfully prevent bad actors from infringing your IPs.
Instead, it’s important for businesses to always be proactive in monitoring any possible abuse of their trademarks, IPs, and patents.
Yet, while it’s technically possible, obviously monitoring the whole world wide web manually to look for potential misuse of your registered IPs is ineffective and inefficient. With high volumes of infringements, it’s best to leverage the use of a Trademark Watch Service like Red Points.
A good trademark monitoring service can automatically identify IP infringements and automatically take the necessary action. With Red Points, reporting to Wix or other platforms and asking for removal will happen automatically and quickly.
While Wix is typically a very secure platform that is also working tirelessly to stop unauthorized infringements on its platform, it’s still important for businesses to proactively protect their IPs not only on WIx, but also on other platforms, including monitoring trademark abuse on mobile apps.
Following the steps and best practices we’ve shared above will provide you with a solid foundation to prevent copyright and trademark infringement in the future, and also to prevent your business from infringing registered trademarks or copyrights of other businesses.
Ready to take the next step to make trademark infringement prevention and protection easier, less costly, and more efficient? Automatically find and remove infringing products and sellers with Red Points’ online Brand Protection Software.