Protecting your brand online

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Entrepreneurs and businesses: are you being naïve about your online activities? You should have an integrated online brand protection strategy to effectively protect your brand.

Think of the Internet as follows:

1. Search engines: It’s where most prospective customers begin a search for a product or service.  Do you have a strategy that addresses cyber-squatters and counterfeiters that show up next to your website in search results? Don’t assume the prospective customer can tell the difference between your brand, a cyber-squatter or a counterfeiter.

2. E-Commerce sites: Infringers and counterfeiters may be using your brand and trademarks in their domains and websites to trick customers into thinking that they are you.

3. Social media: It’s fast, cheap, and easy to use, so it should not be surprising that it is a low barrier to entry for infringers and counterfeiters. If you are ignoring social media — Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram — an infringer or counterfeiter may have built a substantial following around your brand that drives sales to them.  If you aren’t paying attention, you might find yourself playing catchup on blocking posts and profiles that are damaging your brand and infringing your intellectual property.  You want real-time information and analysis and to know what is happening with your brand on an ongoing-basis.

Finally, your brand is important.  You should seek to register any associated trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to ensure your trademark rights have the maximum legal protection available.  A trademark attorney can help. If you would like to know more about why you might want to hire a trademark attorney to prepare and file a trademark application for you, click on the following advice from the USPTO: Do I need a Trademark Attorney?

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About the Author:

Barbara Alexander is licensed to practice law in California (2002), Georgia (2010), and Nevada (2001). Her passion for intellectual property dates back to the mid-90s when she returned from living in Dublin, Ireland to work for a Boston-based venture capital firm, investing in life sciences and technology companies. Attending law school in Washington, D.C. at Washington College of Law, American University from 1998-2001, Barbara’s legal training focused on federal law – of which trademark, copyright, and patent are a significant part. Barbara started Alexander Legal LLC in January 2014 to offer clients more personalized service at a better price point than larger firms can offer.
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