Starting a small business is an exciting journey, but it’s also important to think about how you can protect your brand and intellectual property in the digital age. With more and more consumers shopping and interacting with brands online, it’s crucial for small business owners to take steps to protect their brand from infringement and piracy.
So, where do you start? Let’s take a look at some key steps you can take to protect your brand online.
Register Trademarks. Fast.
The first step in protecting your brand and reputation is by registering trademarks. Your trademarks are valuable assets for your business and should be protected from the very start. Make sure to register your trademarks before you invest money in marketing and building your brand’s reputation. A registered trademark is an insurance card that you can peacefully invest funds into building your reputation, insuring you that no one else from your industry will enjoy the fruit of your labor. Other than that, the ® symbol sends a strong message, both to customers and to competitors.
You Have to Be Proactive.
Not a lot of people know this, but you can actually lose the rights to your trademark if you don’t actively and continuously protect it. It is very important to regularly monitor your market’s online presence to detect any unauthorized use of your brand and to quickly address any issues that may arise. Make sure to weekly monitor major marketplaces and social media accounts. If you find any infringement, immediately act on it and send the infringer a cease and desist letter. If you ignore an infringement for too long, more and more infringers will hop on this opportunity and pretty soon your brand will be up for grabs.
Brand Catfishing is a Thing.
Be cautious of online scams and impersonators. Scammers and impersonators can harm your brand by using your name and logo without permission, or by creating fake websites and social media accounts in your name. To protect your brand, it’s important to be vigilant and report any impersonation or scams to wherever they were published. Keep in mind that having registered trademarks is a lifesaver in these situations because then most websites (including google, Facebook, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and much more) will automatically remove all infringing content if you show them the registration certificate. No questions asked. If you do not have a trademark, they will probably ignore your report because they do not want to be the judge of who owns the brand.
In conclusion, protecting your brand online is crucial for the success of your small business. By taking steps to secure your domain name, monitor your online presence, protect your trademarks and copyrighted content, and be cautious of online scams and impersonators, you can ensure that your brand stays safe and secure in the digital age.