It is hard enough to come up with an original business idea. But once you do, you have to protect your brand and your products from imitators. Not only that, it is crucial that you register your trademark and protect it from infringements. Although registration is just the first step towards protecting your trademark, there are many other strategies that a brand needs to adapt to protect against trademark infringement. Following are five necessary steps brands must follow to protect their trademarks from being copied.
1. Register trademark in all markets
After you settle on a trademark, one unique to you, you need to protect it from infringements. The first step is to register your trademark in all markets. Registration of your trademarks helps ensure that nobody else can use your trademark. Failure to register a trademark might result in a lot of confusion. People may confuse your brand with someone else's. That is not acceptable in any case. But if you don't register your trademark, you won’t be able to take legal action against the other brand. It doesn't matter if you were the first to choose that particular trademark; if you haven't registered it, you can't file a suit against imitators.
Register everything related to your trademarks, such as your logo, your company's name, your slogan, and your product names. Register your social handles as well. That includes your Facebook handle, your Instagram handle or your Twitter, etc. Because somebody else may be using the same social handle as you. This trademark infringement may result in people being unable to differentiate between your band and the other brand. In this digital and social media marketing age, it is very important to register social media handles. Potential consumers are likely to visit your social media page before choosing you for the required product or service.
2. Domain management
Once you have selected your trademarks, the next step is to file an application. The application process requires a picture of how your trademark looks. It can be in the form of a label or a brochure. However, conscious effort needs to go into the application filing process. Because if there is some fault with your application, your trademark won't be registered. And if the trademark is not registered, it will certainly not be protected.
It is advised that you secure your domain names with all your brand name variations. Once again, it is necessary to ensure that you own all the domain names that match your trademark. Developing a domain strategy is a crucial step that a brand must take to protect the registered trademark
3. Shutting down similar domains
Once you have registered your trademark, the next step is to ensure there are no other domains similar to yours that are owned by someone else. In case of the existence of one, you can take legal action. Since you possess the legal rights to that trademark, you can file a suit against domains similar to yours that are causing conflicts or have the potential to confuse. You can have them taken down. However, for you to possess the legal rights to that trademark, your trademark must be adequately registered.
4. Monitoring against infringements
Trademark infringement poses many problems for brands as it strips them of their right to control their brand and their brand's reputation. A brand must monitor new trademark applications. Because the sooner the problem is identified, the quicker it can be solved. Plus, the process becomes tedious as time goes on. Not only that, but it also becomes costlier to stop the trademark from hitting the market. For this purpose, you may seek the help of an intellectual property attorney.
Similarly, it is also crucial that you monitor against unregistered infringements. Someone might be using your mark or one similar to yours in their social media handles or product names. It is on you to find out such unregistered infringements and take legal action against them. Because if your consumers confuse your brand with theirs, it may cost you lost sales or even spoil your reputation. Someone's bad experience with the other brand may negatively affect yours if they confuse both brands with being associated.
Filing a suit on time is very important because failure to identify infringements may cost you your brand. Your trademark is an intangible asset and is just as important as the physical assets. A conscious effort must be made to protect the trademark.
Many technologies can ease this process for you and help you keep a tab on your trademark and possible infringements.
5. Maintain your trademark registration
Now that the trademark is registered and all the similar domain names were taken down, you are in complete control of your brand and its trademark. However, you need to maintain it by filing maintenance documents between the 5th and 6th year of registration and the 9th and tenth year of registration. That will ensure that your trademark, your intellectual property remains yours and cannot be copied by others. Failure to file these documents can result in the cancellation of your trademark registration.
For the protection of your trademark, you must make a conscious effort. Building a brand is not child's play and, protecting the registered trademark isn't either. So, go all out to protect your trademark and not let others benefit from what is legally yours.