The world has changed dramatically in 2020, and businesses and brand owners have no choice but to adapt.
With social distancing becoming the new norm, many businesses, including traditional brick-and-mortar shops, are turning to online retail sales as a main source of revenue. Protecting your brand has never been more important, because a strong brand protection strategy will ensure that your trademarks act to distinguish the source of your goods and services from others. If an infringer or a counterfeiter is using your brand, they will divert customers away from your business and harm the goodwill associated with your brand.
Below are a few simple steps we recommend all businesses consider:
1. Obtain U.S. Trademark Registrations
Protect your brands by filing trademark applications with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
- Many online registries, such as the Amazon Brand Registry, require a registered trademark to unlock various tools and resources for managing and protecting your brand online
- A U.S. trademark registration entitles your brand to protection on a nationwide basis
- The USPTO will cite any active pending or registered mark with the USPTO against a later-filed application for a confusingly similar trademark
- Your company can use the circle ® symbol with a registered mark
2. Take advantage of online brand enforcement tools
The main online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba, all offer tools to assist brand owners with the enforcement of their rights on their respective platforms.
3. Set up online brand monitoring
Use Google alerts or similar online monitoring software and set your brands as key words. These alerts will allow you to monitor the use of your brands online and to determine if others are using your trademarks in an infringing manner.
4. Record U.S. registered marks with U.S. Customs
U.S. Customs will seize counterfeit or infringing goods imported into the United States on behalf of brand owners that record registered trademarks with U.S. Customs.
5. Take enforcement action against counterfeiters and infringers
There are many tools available for taking enforcement action, from sending demand letters to filing lawsuits.
6. Consider brand protection outside the United States
Protect your brands outside the United States, in the main countries you do business
- We generally recommend protecting your brand in countries where you do business, where your customers are located, where your manufacturers are located, where your main competitors are located, and where counterfeiting generally originates
Trademark protection for your brands has never been more important. Our seasoned team of trademark professionals can assist you with all aspects of procuring and protecting your rights.
Blog Post © 2020 Kolitch Romano LLP
Photo © 2020 Dave Bourgeau
If your company’s intellectual property protection isn’t where you want it to be, book a time to talk to one of our IP attorneys. We’d love to learn about your business, explain your strategic options, and work with you to secure your vital IP assets.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to give the reader an overview of the topic, and does not constitute legal advice as to any particular fact situation. Facts matter, and every situation is different. In addition, laws and their interpretations change over time and the contents of this article may not reflect these changes. You are strongly advised to consult competent legal counsel regarding your particular situation.