What is online brand protection?
Protecting the value of your brand online is a lot to do with reputation management. In the age of the internet and social media, brands are global, accessible and more easy to engage with than ever before. Online brand protection services from Keltie seek to protect the credibility and equity you have built within your business and include our enforcement, monitoring and detection capabilities.
Your trade mark is the vessel which carries the equity, goodwill and marketing of your business and is the point of reference in the mind of the consumer. Therefore, it is crucial that its use online is controlled and protected.
Constant monitoring of the online landscape for potential infringements of your registered trade mark can be both time consuming and difficult to achieve. However, with the help of our expert trade mark attorneys and the tools at their disposal, your brand is in safe hands.
Our expert team are well equipped to keep our clients one step ahead in an online world that is ever evolving. The fleixible and unique strategies our team design are tailor made to match our client's enforcement priorities clearing a path for brands to prosper.
If another party builds a website and that website features your registered trade mark, because it supersedes a domain name, you can take action to have the website taken down. This is reasonably straightforward because of the fact that, in the main, the infringed trade mark is visible within the site’s URL or content. There are various domain tools which we use to investigate and take action against parties which infringe our clients’ trade marks.
Another aspect of website enforcement is more complex in that, in some cases, the infringement is difficult to find. This is where the skills of a trade mark attorney come to the fore as we can use specialist software to work through the vast amounts of information and, often unhelpful noise, generated by searching. Our work in this area is to ensure that we find a clear strategy and create suitable priorities of action for our clients to take against individuals who infringe trade mark rights and protect their interests.
On a website, a trade mark has to be used in such a way that it actually does infringe its owner’s rights. A specialist attorney can help to determine the extent to which your ownership rights have been infringed and advise on the appropriate - and most effective - course of action.
Keltie offers expert search services to help clients uncover and take action against online infringement. Using the skills and software at our disposal, we conduct deeper level searches than standard search engines in order to locate any element of our clients’ trade marks which is being infringed online. Our work in the initial searching and filing of trade mark applications means that we have a depth of knowledge and information about each mark, and can therefore quickly assess the degree to which any infringement has occurred.
With website-based enforcement, there are realistically only a couple of options available. We would contact the website’s registrant and demand that the infringing site is taken down but if they are unwilling to do so, then legal proceedings would likely follow. Infringement proceedings can be costly, but the reputational value of trade marks can outweigh the financial burden of taking formal action against an infringing party.
Your trade mark rights can also be infringed if they are used without permission on online platforms or marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay, either in product names, links or descriptions. Here, our enforcement work is linked to the IP-related policies of the platforms themselves. Whereas previously, intellectual property protection was somewhat lacking from the formal documentation of online commerce platforms, it is now much more detailed and gives trade mark owners more options to pursue those who infringe.
In order to create a seller’s account on many websites, you must acknowledge and agree to their policies on intellectual property. Often, this acknowledgement from the seller (and potentially infringing party) means that takedown action can be achieved more simply and negates the need for formal proceedings. Most platforms also now included simple, form-based mechanisms to allow trade mark owners to demonstrate infringement and initiate takedown procedures.
Provided you have a registered trade mark and your trade mark portfolio has been put together by an expert attorney from Keltie, it can be relatively straightforward to demonstrate that you have suffered reputational damage or that another party has gained an unfair advantage by infringing your registered rights. Marketplaces are now much more aligned with a need to ensure fairness and protect the rights of registered trade mark owners.
Your rights may also be infringed online through their use in social media. Here, swift action is even more important as people can take and use your registered mark in an almost unchecked manner. It is also difficult to control the use of your trade marks on social media, but there is also an inherent opportunity to increase your brand’s value with its use.
There is a delicate balance with enforcement work when it comes to social media - brands need to be seen not to be over-reaching or over-demanding in what they ask of people in respect of using their brand’s name. Consumers feel as though they should be able to use a trade mark freely in context of conversation, feedback or reviews, whether positive or negative and brands can increase their value by engaging with platform users and being sure to respond to feedback.
Social media platforms have IP-based policies and do take steps to prioritise damaging takedowns, many of which are automated and something we work with on a daily basis. The important element of enforcement action for brand protection with regard to social media is taking action to prevent an issue from growing. If a negatively associated use of a registered mark gathers speed and traction on social media, the reputational damage to the owner’s brand can be substantial. At Keltie, we provide additional services to our clients to ensure damage is limited whilst still maintaining a strong public-facing perception of your brand.
We use our skills and knowledge of trade mark law to investigate the policies of websites, commerce and social media platforms in order to identify the intellectual property safeguards they have put in place to protect the rights of trade mark owners. This often means that we can initiate takedowns quickly, before any reputational damage for our clients occurs, because we use the wording of their own policies to highlight instances of infringement contrary to the agreements they have in place.
By involving a trade mark attorney from Keltie at the outset of your innovation or project, we can apply our years of experience in searching and filing trade marks to benefit your business in two ways. First, our extensive search work will mean that your trade mark has the necessary freedoms to operate which you require, meaning there is unlikely to be any reason for another party to claim their rights are infringed by your mark. Secondly, the information we amass as part of our detailed search work means we build a significant evidence base, rooted in case law which we can call upon in the event of a dispute. This means we can act quickly and effectively if required, to protect the best interests of your brand.
Services you may be interested in
Decades of experience as attorneys, engineers and scientists in industry and research underpin the approach of our patent team. We are resolutely commercial and take time to understand your technology and your business.
Keltie’s patent attorneys are skilled not only in patent searching, but in interpreting the output of a patent search, and in helping you understand what it means for your technology and your business.
Why file a patent application? Patents can serve multiple purposes during their lifetime. They grant the owner a period to enjoy the exclusivity of their invention before others can use it. They give the owner powerful rights recognised in law to prevent infringement. But they are also valuable intellectual property which can enhance the ability of the owner to exploit their technology commercially through licensing or sale of the invention.
A key reason to invest in patent protection is to prevent others from copying your innovation. The patent system is intended to allow you, as a creator, to enjoy exclusivity around your technology for a set period of time. Patents allow you to leverage that exclusivity in order to develop your commercial position.
What is the Patent Box? Patent Box is a tax incentive scheme designed to encourage innovation within the UK. Introduced in 2013, it is a government-backed initiative whereby company profits which are derivable from patented technology are taxed at a lower rate than standard corporation tax. The system is intended to provide a strong and supportive environment for innovation within the UK.
The attorneys in our Trade Mark Group are among the leading brand protection experts in the UK and Europe. Through our associate network, we coordinate brand protection all over the world. The Group comprises multi-lingual European and UK trade mark attorneys with backgrounds in law, engineering and business. Their expertise extends through the full lifecycle, from searching and filing through to opposition and litigation, including enforcement and appeal. The Group also has vast experience in online enforcement.
Before you start using a trade mark, it is good practice to conduct a search to check that the trade mark is free to use. Conducting this type of search can be challenging because there are so many trade marks in use across many different fields of commerce. This makes it difficult for people without trade mark qualifications to navigate other brand-owners’ rights, and avoid or manage potential conflict.
How to file a trade mark The trade mark filing process can be relatively straightforward. In theory, all an applicant needs to do is access the relevant trade mark website, enter the word they wish to create a mark for, add the relevant goods and services to apply to the mark and pay the fee.
What is trade mark protection? Trade mark protection is a means of securing a monopoly right in a word, logo, shape, colour or sound that acts as an identifier of origin, allowing consumers to immediately determine the source of the goods or services offered under that particular trade mark or brand.
Keltie's attorneys have an unusual wealth of expertise and experience in design rights. We help clients protect their designs, exploit their rights and mitigate risks.
If you are launching a new product there is a risk that it will infringe third party design rights. You can reduce the likelihood of costly conflict down the line, or at least be better informed of potential risk, by conducting a design search and clearance assessment before product launch. To do this, we search for relevant earlier rights - both registered and unregistered designs - help you assess the risk these pose to you, and guide you in any action that you might take to reduce and mitigate risk.
To protect your design with a registered right, a formal application must be made to the appropriate IP office. Obtaining a design registration is relatively quick (a matter of weeks or months in the EU and UK), which can be very useful for creators because it means rights and therefore protection can be granted swiftly.
As the owner of a design right, you are able to take action against another party if they market a product that is too visually similar to yours, without your permission. If their product is identical to your design, or if it differs in some ways but the impression the consumer takes from their product matches your design, you may be able to take action.
What is online brand protection? Protecting the value of your brand online is a lot to do with reputation management. In the age of the internet and social media, brands are global, accessible and more easy to engage with than ever before. Online brand protection services from Keltie seek to protect the credibility and equity you have built within your business and include our enforcement, monitoring and detection capabilities.
What is online brand monitoring? Monitoring involves the process of observing and tracking uses of your brand online. It is a key aspect of your business’ operations to both understand your customers’ sentiment towards the brand and uncover any instances where your intellectual property rights have been infringed.
A domain name provides a platform for visibility of a brand in an online space. It is a destination address for the web traffic generated around a brand name. However, simply put, a domain is a word, and a word can be trade marked. Often, people secure a domain name first in their process of creating a new product or service. Whilst an online presence is a key part of launching a new brand, it is a mistake to think that because you own a domain name, you will be able to secure a matching trade mark. The process should work the other way around - where a domain name becomes an additional asset secured following the clearance and registration of a trade mark.
People who work in this area
David is a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney. His responsibilities include the prosecution of trade marks, trade mark audits, conducting clearance searches and handling contentious matters such as trade mark opposition proceedings, infringement matters, revocation and invalidity actions.
Sectors we work in
No matter what your product, aesthetics are invaluable. They are the first impression of a product: the contours, shapes, colours and textures that catch our eye as we see, use and interact with it. Not only does a distinct aesthetic have its own value, but it can enhance function, reinforce brand recognition and loyalty, and drive consumer choice.
Branding has a key role to play in any industry. Brands are the flags that fly on behalf of a business or product. They are an identifier of origin that allows consumers to recognise where their products or services are coming from, so it is crucial that those brands resonate with consumers. They must also be kept free of problems that inhibit their ability to be the vehicle that drives a business.
Whether it is the development of novel materials and compounds, or the improvement of industrial processes to make them cleaner or more productive, chemical sciences underpin many of the aspects which are key to addressing the challenges of the 21st century. The diversity of innovation in chemistry is vast, with industry-leading companies combining resources and skills to create new products designed to solve problems and enhance our understanding.
Often referred to as a Fourth Industrial Revolution, emerging digital technologies which blend physical systems and digital technologies together are playing a more significant role in our everyday lives.
Engineering inventions can be found in hugely complex products, or deceptively simple creations. They can encompass almost any field of technology, and often several fields at once.
More so than almost all other scientific fields, our knowledge, understanding and expertise in biology has increased at a phenomenal pace over the past few decades. Since the high throughput sequencing power used in the human genome project was unleashed at the beginning of the 21st century, multiple '-omics' disciplines now characterise a diverse field that offers such enormous potential for medicine, food production, wellbeing and human expression.
Modern technologies and advancements in product design and manufacturing contribute to our being able to lead a more sustainable and improved lifestyle. These in turn are increasing both the expectancy and quality of life we are able to enjoy as consumers by combatting health challenges and diseases, improving diagnostics and developing new therapies.
Materials science and the technologies involved in manufacturing processes underpin almost every element of technological development. The function, quality, longevity and financial value of products are all impacted by their material make up and the mechanisms involved in their production.
Precision medicine, also referred to as personalised or stratified medicine, is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention in which medical decisions, treatments and products are tailored to a subgroup of patients by taking into account the individual characteristics of each patient.
There are few greater challenges than starting a company from scratch but the rewards for taking a great idea or innovation and turning it into a successful business are substantial. At their inception, new companies grow quickly, driven by the dedication of owners and their will to make them profitable, but usually with limited financial resources. In order to become established and find a strong position within the market, startups need to attract external investment.
Sustainability or Green Technology is a hugely prominent sector as public consciousness, awareness and engagement with the ‘green agenda’ grows. As consumers, our behaviour can have a significant environmental impact and has prompted substantial strategic and financial support from national governments and the UN as they look to industry to develop sustainable solutions, products and technologies.
The rise of the internet and modern telecommunications has been underpinned by our ability to program computers to carry out complex operations. Almost every aspect of our lives has been advanced by developments in technology and software, making previously slow or complicated processes easier, faster and in some cases, cheaper.
11.01.2023What is a trade mark?
Trade marks can apply to words, logos, colours, shapes, drawings, even sounds and smells. They are a badge of origin that allows a customer to see a brand or product, recognise it and know how they can repeat that transaction again.
01.02.2023UKIPO Requires UK Address for Service for International TMs and Designs
Following the recent decision of the Appointed Person (AP) in Tradeix Ltd v New Holland Ventures Pty Ltd BL (O/681/22) (Marco Polo Case), the UKIPO will now require a local address in the UK (or in Gibraltar or the Channel Islands) before any formal serving of documents in contentious proceedings relating to UK designations of International trade mark or design registrations. Failure to provide a UK address for service may result in a challenged registration being cancelled or an opposed trade mark being treated as withdrawn.
12.09.2022The long-term impact of Brexit on trade marks and designs
Six years on from the Brexit referendum, we can happily say that the measures put in place for trade marks and designs have been successful in delivering a smooth transition. But IP owners now need to pay attention to upcoming changes to rights of representation, particularly in light of the huge growth in applications at the UK IPO.