Business owners and startups often overlook the fact that protecting your brand across the internet begins before you create it and release it to the world. Getting your new business up and running may seem like a daunting task but having the support of skilled information technology lawyers can ensure that you don’t miss any critical steps along the way.
There are always careless users (both inside and outside your company) who may cause damage to your brand online, as well as your business’ bottom line. According to the updated 2017 IP Commission report, it’s estimated that the annual cost of IP theft ranges from $225 billion to as much as $600 billion annually for the U.S. economy.
This makes it imperative to have information technology lawyers develop an online brand protection strategy as part of your IP strategy. The process starts with securing your trademarks, copyright, patents, brand name, logo, website copy, and products before they are launched on the internet.
Domain Name Management
Domain name management is a vital part of protecting your brand and IP. However, it can get complicated knowing what to register and which initial steps to take.
How to get started:
- Register all relevant variations of your domain name nationally and internationally
- Register multiple domain extensions and redirect so others can’t
- Register your products and services
- Market globally with country code domain names
These vital domain name management practices can stop bad players who can siphon customers, use your name in damaging ways, and lead your brand to potential ruin.
Taking a Proactive Stance to Internet Brand Protection
While these protections are the foundation of your IP protection strategy, remember that they are a reactive positioning that is intended to protect you when someone violates your IP and does damage to your brand. The goal is to have support from a firm that has the expertise and experience in information technology law to help you put monitoring efforts in place to proactively look for exploitation. This includes setting up alerts for brand and IP infringement and domain name management.
Experienced Information technology lawyers can help establish guidelines during setup of your brand, including fonts, colors and other aspects. These things are best done immediately after creation, so they are part of the copyright/trademark registration process to ensure brand consistency. These guidelines can then be applied across the website, social media channels, email, public communication, and events to provide the needed protection and process for violation.
Social Media Monitoring and Brand Protection
While digital rights management in the age of social media is no simple task, it begins with monitoring. This process is vital to knowing what your customers are saying about you so that you can respond to negative feedback and IP violations in real time. Internet Monitoring is about having the tools, processes and protocols for discovering negative usage of IP, including domain name violations and customer conversations. This covers the entire internet and requires specific tools and protocols so that nothing is missed.
For example, you’ll need to monitor social media channels for mentions to uncover malicious activities and threats against your brand. This is actually a process of being both proactive and reactive as you will need to know how to legally respond to what you find concerning, and how to respond to inadvertent violations. The goal is to create alerts for brand mentions as well as domain name and product use.
You will need to designate specific people to handle this, but it’s best to have the support of an internet law attorney to help develop/vet the monitoring process and tools.
- Have a defined process and protocols for vetting the people that you allow to post and the content of each post before it goes out to the world
- Develop defined rules of conduct to avoid inappropriate content, conduct or misunderstandings
- Implementation of safeguards to protect confidentiality and use of IP
There’s no one size fits all solution, so brand protection has to be tailored to your business with the flexibility to accommodate growth. At Marashlian & Donahue, PLLC, our attorneys couple
deep understanding of technology, the internet and brand protection to stop the most damaging forms of brand abuse. This expertise is vital to helping businesses avoid erosion of their brand, positioning and bottom line.