Protecting Your Brand: Legal Steps to Take

by VENDIREX on 11/14/2014 - 01:30 pm |

Tag: Brand Management

When you have created the perfect brand for your business, the next step that you must take is 
to legally protect that brand. If you do not, chances are you will quickly see knock-offs of your 
company name and logo appearing, especially overseas.

1. Hire a Trademark Attorney

A brand is legally known as a trademark. You must file specific paperwork with the government 
to secure your absolute rights to this name and logo. This can be a very long and painstaking 
process if you try to handle it alone. 

The government is very specific about what can and cannot be protected by trademark, and 
in some cases it takes legal action to force the government to approve your name or logo for 
trademark protection. Once you have established trademark rights, you are protected, and no 
one can use your name or logo.

2. Reputation Management 

The next thing that you will want to do is establish a plan to protect the reputation of your 
business and brand. It is very important that you monitor the Internet and other media sources 
to make sure that no one is discrediting your name, or using it for other purposes. 
For example, if your company portrays that it uses only all natural products, you do not want 
to find your brand being associated with processed or unwholesome products. Also be sure the 
designers and website developers with whom you work are reputable and accountable.

3. Register with The Trademark Clearinghouse

One of the largest branding issues that businesses face is the ability for anyone to purchase the 
same domain name with a different ending (extension). For example, if your site ends in .com, 
someone may purchase the .net version in an effort to clone your brand. It happens more often 
than you may realize. Known as the TLD (anything to the right of the dot in the domain address) 
there are currently 22 different versions of web address extensions. Shortly, there will be over 
1,400 as the Internet expands its offerings later in the year. 

Registration in the Trademark Clearinghouse will allow you to protect your brand by offering 
you the first chance to purchase these domain names before they go public. Additionally, 
business owners registered with the Clearinghouse will also be notified if anyone tries to 
purchase a domain name with their brand in the address.

Currently, these are the only options that businesses have in protecting their trademarks. 
Businesses must remain diligent in watching for brand abuse, carefully read contracts with 
those who are developing their images - and they should take legal action against anyone who 
tries to steal or forge their brand. Only through legal action will future thieves think twice about 
this type of cloning or theft. While it seems a bit complicated, it is worth the efforts. A brand can 
make the difference between a company being successful or failing. Your brand is as important 
as the product or service you provide. It is necessary to give it as much protection as you would 
your financial assets.


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