“If there is one trait that your brand must speak of, it is trust.” – Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability
Are you the owner of a Small Medium Enterprise (SME)? Or, are you perhaps bootstrapping a startup? Have you considered trademarking or protecting your brand? Why should you protect your brand? Is your brand your intellectual property (IP)?
These questions are valid and deserve a considered answer. Therefore, by way of answering these questions, let’s consider the following points:
Brand Protection: What, why, how?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines brand protection as “the act of preventing someone from illegally making and selling a product using a brand name owned by another company.”
Therefore, your brand is your intellectual property and defines your business’s value proposition. And, if someone else uses your brand name for their products or services, your brand’s value, and your ability to earn a living, will be compromised.
2019 statistics quoted by the OECD and EU Intellectual Property Office show that the trade in counterfeit goods is now 3.3% of global trade. And, unfortunately, this number is increasing as the trade-in fake products increases.
Consequently, the question that begs is how do you protect your brand and its individual components like the brand name, intellectual property, brand identity, trademarks, and copyrights?
By way of answering this question, let’s consider the following points:
Hire a brand protection specialist
This is a vital aspect of protecting your brand. Without a Warren business attorney on your side, you have very little chance of protecting your products from being counterfeited. Part of the brand protection process includes the management of your intellectual property portfolio.
And, it is equally important to ensure that your company has an IP enforcement policy in place. Thus, if you discover that your brand’s IP has been infringed, there are a series of processes that make sure that action is taken against the infringers.
Monitor social media and online advertising
One of the best places to pick up counterfeit products is to monitor social media posts and online advertisements. It is impossible to do this manually. However, there are many Business Intelligence (BI) tools available that have the capacity to mine the different social media platforms looking for information about fake products. You will also receive a report every time the BI tool picks up possible counterfeit products.
It is worth noting at this junction that there will more than likely be false positives on this report as not all companies selling products similar to yours will be counterfeit. Therefore, the main purpose of this report is to provide the necessary information that will enable you to launch a legal investigation into the source of the alleged counterfeit products.
Form a network of business associates
It’s vital to connect with bona fide brands in your industry or niche. Succinctly stated, they will more than likely be facing similar challenges. Therefore, by working together, you’ll be able to achieve more than you would if you tried to prevent counterfeiters from selling imitation products.