Trademark infringement and the responsibility of the marketing manager

Brand Protection

A marketing manager’s worst nightmare

Trademark protection and trademark safety are strangely overlooked by many companies, especially considering that infringement may cost a fortune. However, there is help available and good potential to minimize risk by combining technology and law.

We often hear business leaders or marketing managers say, “the brand is our biggest and most valuable asset”. Paradoxically, at the same time, trademark protection is often neglected by the same companies, constituting a major financial risk.

 

Digital development means new opportunities, but also new threats

New business opportunities generated by the digital transformation are endless, but in its wake new threats also emerge. This requires a new approach to branding where companies must take brand security into account, not just brand protection. In the past, trademark protection was almost exclusively about legal issues, today the potential threats are just as often of a technical or digital nature. We recently saw an example of digital trademark infringement when a Scandinavian eyewear e-commerce site unexpectedly shut down. The next day, the company reported to the Swedish Data Protection Authority that it had been subjected to hacking, malware and phishing.

 

Are you risk aware?

With the increasing digitization and digital use of trademarks, it is even more difficult for companies to protect and secure a trademark and monitor its use. When fraudsters use trademarks illegally, they usually do so without the owner’s knowledge. In addition to the lack of monitoring, many companies also lack a clear overview and administration of their trademark rights. In which countries is the trademark protected and in what aspects? In what ways is it exposed to threats? What needs to be done proactively to minimize risks? What legal leeway do we have with our trademark? These are just a few questions that the marketing manager should ask himself.

The global economy poses greater challenges to brand protection. Company representatives often say that “the brand is a great asset” and that it “represents the company’s greatest value”, but don’t always act on those statements.

Consequently, the most important task for a marketing manager might be to ensure basic protection for the brand as a whole. As a marketing manager, you must be aware your brand is subjected to completely different threats today compared to before.

To ensure adequate trademark security, you need to consider all aspects of a trademark, both legally and technically. For that reason, marketing managers should always involve IT managers in brand security.

Protect your brand

In a global market, with all the opportunities and challenges it entails, it is not enough to look at trademark protection solely from a legal perspective. You must have a holistic view of the brand.

In today’s digitized world, trademark protection goes beyond taking legal precautionary measures. You also need to consider all new threats that your brand encounters in the digital and global environment. Unfortunately, it is often the case that a trademark injury must occur before a company realizes the urgent need to take action.

An evident example is how the IT department’s policies and initiatives affect the brand to a large extent. If the IT department uses insufficient, cheap security certificates (SSL), has a substandard security policy for passwords or fails to upgrade the software regularly, which in turn can lead to hacking, the company risks infringement that causes great damage to the brand.

 

Commitment is crucial

To ensure successful trademark protection, the brand manager must be truly committed to the matter. But it is not enough if only one person is involved in the brand and its protection, the responsibility must be seen from a broader perspective and involve more people and departments within the company.

 

Three key words for a marketing manager when it comes to brand protection
1. Protect – review your basic trademark protection before it’s too late.
2. Monitor – gather intelligence and monitor how your brand appears online.
3. Take action – use legal, technical and digital solutions to deal with challenges.

 

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