30, June 2020
New requirements in the age of digitization: How to protect your brand
Digital infringement, brand piracy and social media fraud. New business threats have emerged, and they are becoming increasingly complex to navigate. To protect your brand in the digital age, you need a clear and unified brand strategy.
Digitization puts new demands on the management of your brand. Today, you need a comprehensive strategy with respect to both legal and digital aspects of a brand’s protection, in order to avoid reputational damage.
– These days, trademark protection is much more than a legal matter. In the current digital and global environment, brands are exposed to entirely new types of threats. Legal infringements are being replaced by digital and technological violations. That means that efficient brand protection management requires broad comprehensive solutions, says Marie Widmark, Director Business Development at Ports Group.
There are many common examples of digital trademark infringement.
– It can range from traders buying large residual inventory and unlawfully selling your branded products on major e-commerce sites such as Amazon or Alibaba, to someone registering and using your brand name on Instagram or registering it as a domain name in order to email your customers and suppliers, says Marie Widmark.
She points out that it is no longer possible to treat the various aspects of trademark protection as separate matters.
- The people behind trademark infringement always exploit a brand's weakest link, so to protect your brand efficiently you must take into account all factors – legal, digital and technical. At Ports Group, we always ensure strong overall protection of your brand at the same time as we have specialist competence within the individual areas.
Potential to save time and money
Having a comprehensive brand strategy right from the start can save a company lots of time and money.
- It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurs to spend vast sums on developing a brand, plus just as much to protect it, only to discover that the domain name is already in use – leading to the company having to pay to acquire ownership of the domain name as well, says Aria Chavoshi, Regional Manager at Ports Group.
- This is partly due to domain name brokers who continuously go through databases of newly registered trademarks and based on that register matching and salable domain names. One of many examples of how important it is to do things in the right order when launching a brand.
It is equally important to ensure that you own your trademark rights in all geographic markets that are relevant to your business.
- Take, for example, a retail company in Sweden with production in China. Without the right level of protection, someone in China might register the same trademark over there, and then make sure the retailer’s goods are halted in customs. The company then runs the risk of being pressured to pay fraudsters to get its own products out of the country, says Aria Chavoshi.
Keep track of your brand
Consequently, a trademark should not only be protected in the countries where it is sold or marketed, but also in the countries where the products are manufactured.
– You also need to consider potential future markets when planning your strategy, as it may take several years for your trademark protection to become valid, says Aria Chavoshi.
In addition to ensuring the right level of protection, it is also crucial for brand owners to carry out careful brand monitoring to gain control over how the brand is displayed in the channels where it is exposed.
- A first step is to monitor the trademark’s wording, both legally and digitally, in the markets where you do business. Companies that drive high customer conversion via social media should carefully monitor those channels. And when importing large volumes of goods, customs surveillance is something we highly recommend. These are just a few examples of how Ports Group can offer surveillance solutions, tailored to the individual needs of a brand.
- Today, brand damage often occurs quickly and without warning, so it is important to have a well thought out strategy and the right technical solutions in place. By centralizing all matters related to your brand with one partner, you can act faster and take advantage of synergies between our different solutions, says Marie Widmark.
Ports Group's main advice for increased brand protection: