In the past, “copycat” branding being applied to products was the most common form of trade mark infringement. You would find low quality counterfeit products entering the market (usually from overseas) and being sold cheaply on market stalls or online.
For most small businesses, the risk of this happening was relatively low. It took a great deal of time, effort and money for someone to copy your branding and apply it to their own products so the infringers needed to know they could sell the “fakes” in large enough quantities to make a profit.
Whilst this still happens today, it is far less common than it used to be. This is thanks, in part, to the actions of Trading Standards and other organizations clamping down on the infringers.
Fake social media profiles
These days, infringement of your brand can be quick, easy and costs almost nothing. All it takes is a few clicks and an infringer (who may be your competitor) can set up a fake social media profile to impersonate you online.
Your customers may find it almost impossible to distinguish between your official account and the fake account, making this type of infringement far more damaging than the copycat branding described above.
What makes these actions worse is that the platforms are often reluctant to remove the “fake” accounts because they don’t want to get involved in branding disputes. Their excuse is always “How do we know who is right or wrong?”
Having a registered trade mark can eliminate this excuse because it makes it much easier to prove that you are the rightful owner of the brand. If you can show the platform that your trade mark has been infringed it is much more likely to be seen as a breach of their policies or guidelines and then they will remove the offending account.
Other online infringements
As well as setting up fake social media profiles, your competitors can take an unfair advantage of your brand in other ways too.
For example, they can include your brand name in the meta data on their website or as a key word in their pay-per-click advertising. Others may use your branding whilst trying to sell their products online, via websites such as Amazon or eBay.
The infringer’s objective is to direct traffic away from your website to theirs every time someone searches for your brand. As a result, your customers will be buying from them instead of you.
Again, this can be very damaging because you may not realize this is happening unless you are carefully looking out for infringements.
Our services can also remind you through our website.