How to protect your brand online

Protecting your brand online is very different from offline brand protection methods as it is much more difficult to keep on top of all of the potential infringement cases. Below are some tips on how you can best protect your brand online.

1) Police your mark. If you registered a UK trademark you can sign up for simple trademark alerts from the IPO here. This will flag any filings which directly conflict with your mark. It is worth investing in a more comprehensive watch service which will flag “sound alike” conflicting registrations and similar logo designs. You may also need to conduct regular google searches to seek out any potential infringers who have not yet tried to file a trademark.

2) Police your domains. Cybersquatting is becoming more and more frequent due to the ease with which generic top level domains can now be registered. Your company should constantly be looking out for potential cybersquatters. If you do come across someone using infringing your trademark with their domain name, you can file a complaint with the uniform domain-name dispute resolution (UDRP) run by ICANN.

3) If you suspect a company of infringing on your brand, check it out before taking any action. Trademark infringement only occurs when a brand with a similar name and similar goods or services is trading in your territory. If the brand only has a similar name or logo but produces different goods or services then they are not infringing on your trademark rights. Furthermore, if you registered the trademark first, then you would have authority over the other company. However if the opposing company is a major corporation then it may not be worth your while trying to fight back. Trademark infringement can also occur when there is confusion regarding the source of the goods or services. If consumers can distinguish between the two brands and there is no evidence of customer confusion then the likelihood of there being a case of trademark infringement is next to none.

4) If an infringement case arises, don’t immediately send a cease-and-desist letter as the infringing company could publish it online very quickly and this could have a negative impact on your brand. Instead, try to approach the company on a personal level to resolve the issue. You may be able to persuade them to stop infringing on your brand and by not initially threatening them with legal action they may be more acquiescent. Furthermore, if the company that appears to be infringing on your brand doesn’t pose a real threat to either the sales or the reputation of your company then they may not be worth pursuing.

5) Be consumer-friendly but don’t be afraid to step in if your consumer’s actions are diluting or genericizing your brand. You would need to make it clear that you are happy for them to use your brand name as long as they are only using it in relation to your brand and not to the type of goods and services that your product falls into.

For advice and more information on searching, acquiring, registering and enforcing Trademarks please visit our website,
Our unique database of trademarks for sale or license could save you time and help protect your brand.