Protecting Your Brand: Why You Can Not Afford Not to
The most harmful action you can take as a brand owner is NOT protecting your brand by inaction in not registering your trademark. It costs you money, your reputation and brand loyalty. The prevalence of fakes, knock-offs or counterfeits has increased dramatically during COVID-19. One year after the pandemic began, their existence persists and expands.
Brand abuse has become a universal threat with the accelerated adoption of digital channels during COVID. Bad actors are taking advantage of consumers who trustingly rely on the internet to buy their necessities. Online spending represented 21.3% of total retail sales for 2020, according to Digital Commerce 360 estimates, and consumers spent $861.12 billion online with U.S. merchants.
Even before the pandemic, fakes proliferated the online marketplace. Since last March, organized networks of bad actors have created fake websites, mobile apps, ads and social profiles that have given rise to even more counterfeits, imposters and scams. The global black market lures unsuspecting consumers away from the brands they trust. The anonymity of the internet gives these criminals the advantage of hiding behind sites using fake trademarks, brands and false certification labels, leading shoppers into thinking they are buying genuine, safe products. Even though the risk of contracting the coronavirus was the impetus for the explosion of online shopping, ironically, it has exposed consumers to risks to their health and safety.
Counterfeit goods contain:
- Cheap or inferior ingredients
- Low-grade components
- Diluted, toxic, or falsely labeled items
Counterfeit goods devalue your brand. As a brand owner, you cannot stop criminals from hijacking your brand, but you can prevent them from succeeding. It is an investment in time and money, which pales in comparison to the damage done to your brand without taking the necessary precautions.
The first step in preventing counterfeiting of your brand online is to register your intellectual property in ALL markets. Ference and Associates help clients worldwide combat online counterfeiting. Their IP attorneys ensure your trademark is properly registered through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which provides you with an array of essential trademark benefits, including:
- Granting you national rights to use and enforce your brand;
- Federal trademark registration provides constructive notice to potential infringers;
- After five years of continuous use, federally registered trademarks can become incontestable; and
- Having a federally registered trademark allows you to bring a trademark infringement suit in federal court.