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.
Online brand monitoring includes searching for use or misuse of your brand online, in commerce platforms and on social media. It can provide valuable insights for your marketing strategies, but we are most interested in surveilling your brand from a protection or enforcement perspective.
Counterfeit goods and services provided using a trade mark without permission can be extremely dangerous for brands. The availability of counterfeit products means that we cannot control who buys them or whether they may actually be harmful - both literally to end users and figuratively to the reputation of the real trade mark owner.
It is often thought that online brand protection is solely to do with digital media or someone copying a piece of online content. However, a counterfeit medical drug could be produced and appear to be trade marked correctly and offered for sale online. Here, trade mark owners need to protect their rights to the brand by acting against the product itself. In this instance, action would be taken to protect customers from the negative implications of a counterfeit medical product being used, and the reputational damage suffered as a result of its use.
Counterfeit products are more difficult to identify, but we have a number of online brand monitoring tools at our disposal in order to find and close down sellers who infringe the rights of our clients. Advanced search algorithms, social media research work and online investigations are just some of the ways we help ensure trade mark rights are protected from use by counterfeiters. In an ever-changing and technologically advanced landscape, our trade mark attorneys need to consider all possible ways a fake product may enter the market in order to put together the most comprehensive protection strategy for our clients.
When outlining the online brand protection services Keltie provides for our clients, it is also important to mention cybersquatting.
Cybersquatting can involve opportunistic parties securing a domain and then waiting until the owner of a trade mark wants to secure it, in order to financially gain from selling it to them. Consistency of online representation is a key element for large brands, and therefore there is unfortunately a marketplace for domains to be bought and sold in this way. Keltie is able to help our clients avoid this, by developing a strategy built around the initial trade mark and ensuring that our search work uncovers any potential issues which may occur in the future once the mark is filed. Our rigorous processes will uncover any possible cybersquatting opportunists before they become a nuisance for our clients.
In some territories, individuals file trade marks and secure domains with the sole purpose of looking to sell them back to the rights holders. This is still commonplace, with many household name brands not having ownership of trade marks and domains in overseas jurisdictions. This presents an interesting challenge for our attorneys - we have to balance our portfolio and online brand protection strategy with the differing and particular rules of foreign territories. However, our clients are less likely to encounter domain ransom issues online thanks to our detailed clearance searching at the outset of a project, which uncovers opportunistic parties and helps inform our decisions for your intellectual property portfolio.
In emerging markets, many companies run automated software programs to search for and file trade marks in overseas territories with the hope of selling them back to owners in the UK and Europe. Counterfeiters and cybersquatters use extensive automated systems to create unfair advantages for themselves. As such, it is crucial that our clients are protected by the deployment of innovative solutions created by our expert team.
The only way to create an intellectual portfolio that attempts to avoid online infringement issues is to preempt issues which may arise in the future. Our extensive strategic approach to our clients’ projects, involving exhaustive search and detailed planning is the most effective way to counter those parties seeking advantage from our clients’ work. However, until intellectual property and infringement laws are made uniform across the globe, these issues will still occur.
At Keltie, we take pride in our multi-jurisdictional understanding that territories operate according to their own laws - many of which do not cover aspects including ecommerce and online enforcement of IP rights. Even now, online usage for example, is rarely mentioned in any trade mark documentation. We use our skills and knowledge developed by working with brands for many years to put together the most comprehensive and protective strategies for our clients. The online world is fast-evolving and changing with the increasing pace of technology, but our professional attorneys are ready to meet the challenge.