For most businesses (especially digital ones) brand is the most valuable asset. As your brand recognition and reputation grows, so does your revenue and profit margins. However, 85% of brands experience unwanted use. Someone else can start using your name (or one remarkably similar) damaging your reputation so that you lose customers and revenue.
Here are 5 ways to make sure your brand is protected:
1. Trademark your business name and logo
To have a solid legal ownership of your brand you need to register your trademark. Otherwise it is likely that somebody in your or another country will register a similar name. The registered trademark provides the right to take a legal action against anyone that infringes upon it.
The trademark registration process can be complicated and tedious, so consulting with professionals can help to save your time and money.
2. Ensure global protection
Trademark registration in your country of origin is a good start, but it’s also important to protect yourself in other territories around the world. Laws differ by country, and even if international expansion isn’t currently on your radar, it’s a good idea to plan ahead to make sure you’re able to grow in the future. If you sell your services/goods globally it makes sense to register your trademark in the major markets (e.g. US, EU, UK) or worldwide.
3. Register your domain name.
While securing a branded domain name won’t itself prevent anyone from using your company name, it will help to prove your use of that brand for a certain period of time. It’s better to register the same domain name with alternate extensions, such as .net, .biz and .org, in addition to .com. Be sure to set up automatic renewal on your registration so that you don’t lose ownership of your domains when the expiration term is up.
4. Monitor your brand
Set up Google alerts on your business name and use social media management tools to monitor when your business name is mentioned. This will help alert you when someone else is using your business name, a similar name or a similar trademark illegally, so you can take action quickly.
5. Deal with infringement immediately.
If you find that someone is using your business name or logo you should start by sending a cease-and-desist letter. Explain your ownership of the trademark, ask them to stop using it, and state that if they don’t, you’ll be forced to take legal action.