Trademark registration represents a key step in ensuring effective brand protection. While some of the main benefits of registering a trademark are somewhat neglected by entrepreneurs until it is too late, there are numerous very practical advantages that can directly influence business performance.
Web hosting domain plays a crucial role in driving customer traffic to the site. Quite often, it is the very name of the hosting domain that allows customers to find the company online. Now imagine that this hosting domain would belong to a competitor. Or simply that a similar domain would be owned by a competitor. This could take the form of a minor tweak in the name of the domain (e.g. kickresume.com versus kick-resume.com) or an ownership of the same domain name with a different ending (e.g. kickresume.com versus kickresume.net). The negative impacts could be substantial, creating loss of sales and creation of customer confusion which could undermine the organisational performance.
So how can trademark registration help? By registering a trademark, you gain a legal protection for your brand that can be used to address cybersquatting and infringement attempts. It is the ownership of a registered trademark that protects against identical as well as highly similar trademarks that could create consumer confusion.
Three main advantages of trademark registration can be associated with the mitigation of web hosting domains.
- Prevention: Ownership of a registered trademark is often sufficient to discourage any infringement attempts, signalling this level of protection and legal rights to the potential copycats
- Automatic resolution: Several web hosting and domain providers (e.g. GoDaddy) have already implemented mechanisms for automatic resolution of domain disputes, effectively protecting the rights of the owners of registered trademarks.
- Legal disputes: A registered trademark can play a decisive role in the resolution of any legal disputes, empowering the owners of these registered trademarks to quickly and easily address any infringement attempts.
The crucial role of the brand name in determining the consumers’ ability to get in touch with a company online extends beyond web hosting domains to the realm of social media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and even LinkedIn have introduced automatic conflict resolution processes, allowing owners of registered trademarks to raise their issue in a convenient manner. Reporting an alleged infringement is all it takes to ensure that no one can use the brand name that is protected by a trademark as part of their account name.
It needs to be pointed out that this level of protection is primarily focused on preventing brand infringement attempts. In line with the general rules guiding trademark registration, identical or similar trademarks can in fact co-exist if these brands are not considered as competitors and each focuses on very distinct categories of products and services.
On average, there are over 3.5 billion Google searches each day. The search results determine whether or not consumers are able to find the desired result and shape their consequent actions. A relatively common competitive practice is based on the inclusion of competitors’ keywords in advertisements, allowing competitors to benefit from the good reputation of others and basically steal their consumers.
Google seems to be well aware of this problem and has gradually introduced a range of mechanisms to protect entrepreneurs and their brands. In line with the discussion depicted in the previous sections of this article, it is the trademark registration that provides significant level of protection on Google search. Owners of registered trademarks can benefit from Google’s automatic protection mechanisms, preventing others from using their brand as a keyword or include the registered name in advertisements or website description. Moreover, conflict resolution mechanism introduced by Google ensures that any perceive infringement attempts can be raised and quickly resolved.
Amazon Brand Registry
Amazon has become the marketplace, with over 2 million retailers using this platform to reach customers. For an e-commerce merchant, Amazon is the place to be! The introduction of Amazon Brand Registry has greatly exacerbated the need for brand protection. This program offers numerous benefits for online retailers operating on Amazon, allowing them to benefit from a multi-page store layout, advanced analytics and automatic monitoring and resolution of infringement attempts. The main requirement for gaining access to Amazon Brand Registry is trademark registration which ensures that the account of an e-commerce merchant operating on this marketplace is authentic. Amazon Brand Registry also accepts trademarks that have been merely filed with the corresponding intellectual property office, enabling new retailers to quickly gain access to the aforementioned benefits offered by this program.
Development of smartphone applications has become an increasingly used strategy to stay in touch with the customers and strengthen their ties to the company. With the growing share of mobile in retail, this trend is perfectly justified. The ability to find the desired application among the millions of applications promoted on App Store is however becoming increasingly challenging. Once again, it is the trademark registration that mitigates the risk of infringement attempts through automatic conflict resolution. As a result, with no identical or highly similar names of applications, consumers will be considerably more likely to find the application you want them to find.
Protection for #1 asset
In addition to the four very practical benefits provided by trademark registration, this form of legal protection of the intellectual property rights ensures that the uniqueness of a brand is well-protected. In other words, the benefits gained extend beyond the online world, protecting the brand against any infringement efforts made by copycats or competitors.
The cost of trademark registration is virtually nothing compared to a single PR article or any marketing initiative. At the same time, it is the trademark registration that ensures that the good reputation associated by the brand remains intact and well protected.
Need more reasons to consider trademark registration? You can find the whole list in Trademark Academy, a free resource compiled by experienced trademark attorneys working for global trademark one-stop-shop Trama, the goal of which is to raise awareness and perceived importance of this form of brand protection.
The founder of this legal-tech startup, Igor Demcak, has devoted most of his professional career to ensuring that brand protection is available to all brands. “Yes, I believe that every brand deserves to be protected and that it is just the low awareness and often complicated process that results in the fact that entrepreneurs do not really think about trademark registration until it is too late.”