Common trademark issues that a business needs to know
Common trademark issues- what your business wants to know?
Branding a business through a trademark is one of the common business techniques with a proven effectiveness. Every business or company in India has its trademark serving as the differentiating factor between the brands. This is the identity of our brand and encompasses all the aspects of your business. This is a strategy which ensures the brand’s protection. It is very important to take certain trademark issues into consideration before finalizing one for your company.
Selecting a trademark without research:
Even the most professional business people, sometimes jump into the decision in order to finalize their trademark, skipping the research, just brush up the mere formalities. After all the work that goes into designing and registering a trademark, you may find out that some other company may already be using a similar one which indicates you certainly won’t be able to use it then, render all the time and efforts that went into process useless.
Not determining the strength of the trademark:
It is essential to know the strength of the trademark. Often, businessmen don’t pay attention to this issue, actually discovers that there are many other brands with the identical name except for the substitution of one or more alphabets.
This may misguide your customers and give rise to confusion among them since more or less similar trademark is being used by other businesses.
Smaller brands may exploit your trademark:
With the advancement in Media and the rapidly evolving world, trademarks have given the control to the business owners who have no qualms about exploiting the trademarks of better-known brands in order to increase the profits. These businesses attempt to imitate the same practices as like your brand, promotes the impression that both the trademarks belong to the same brand.
Products can be sold out at lower prices, takes away some of the market shares.
Establishing the unclear trademark and IP protocol:
This issue may arise when companies or businesses show negligence while setting the rules of use for their trademark by other partners and companies. If you agree to allow the third party in order to use the IP and trademark ensure that these partnership formalities have to be done legally on paper. These documents need to be reviewed by professionals for any discrepancies or likelihood of fraud by either party.
Not just a trademark, the patent policies and copyrights of your business must be legally protected. Ensure to read every contract before sign anything, protect your business secrets and the confidential information.
If you have to arrange the protection of your business from such unfavorable scenarios, get a trademark registered for your business.
Avoid the common trademark and copyright issues:
Social media is the one which provides endless ways to inform and engage the customer across multiple platforms. The breakneck speed and the continuous demand for content provide many opportunities in order to infringe the others’ intellectual property rights.
We offer some of the suggestions in order to reduce the common instances of copyright and trademark exposure while in the use of social media.
With the proper planning, training, and oversight, social media liability can be minimized.
Risk understanding: Intellectual property law and social media:
The laws of trademark and copyrights apply to social media in the same way it applies to traditional marketing. With the few exceptions, social media activists can be considered commercial because they are designed for interaction with the customers. This means one cannot usually claim the fair use in order to defend against the misappropriation or infringement of another’s intellectual property in a social media space.
Most importantly, who post content using official company accounts are usually deemed to speak up for the company.
For both the trademark and the copyright infringement, the right holder who can file a request with the social media platform to have the infringing post removed.
This may result in a marketing campaign hole and can jeopardize the company’s account access. The rights holder can also file an infringement suit in court which potentially resulting from an award of money damages which may include per view or download, injunctive relief and attorney’s fees. With such suits, the loss of customers, resulting in bad impression and potential damages.
Basics of trademark law:
A trademark is the one which identifies the source of services or product, distinguishes them from the products or services. The liability of the trademark infringement is found when there is any confusion about the source of products or services. The trademark rights have been acquired through the use and the owners can have common law rights even without any registration. Consequently, if a phrase, word or design in a social media post is confusingly similar to another’s trademark and is used to promote similar or related products or services, the trademark owners may have the prior rights can object to the use (whether the mark is registered or not). This may include the use of phrases in hashtags, words, captions, stories and other platform-specific features.
Copyright law basics:
Copyright law applies to original works of art in all forms of media which include videos, music, photos, articles and certain website contents.
This law offers automatic protection to works which is fixed in a tangible medium. In addition, copyrights can be licensed, transferred and inherited and rights can live on after an author’s death. Copyright law may give the owner certain exclusive rights in the work such as the right in order to display the work which may include posting the work on social media to make the copies of the work includes re-posting and to prepare a different version of a work.
One should have permission to use the work – it is not enough to credit the author. The work which is available publicly doesn’t mean it is in the public domain.
Understand the company’s online presence and procedures:
In order to reduce the risk, we recommend understanding the company’s exposure; ask your marketing department questions such as:
- What are the social media sites that the company use (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Word press, Snap chat, Pinterest, etc.)?
- What kinds of media are used on each platform? (E.g. Text, photos, videos, music, etc.)?
- Who has the account access and the posting rights and what is the company’s posting procedures?
Train your tweeters:
Persons who are access to the company’s social media accounts must be trained in the law and principles of intellectual property and it has to be kept in mind when posting or re-posting on behalf of the company.
Each post needs to be reviewed for:
- Trademark office records have to be searched on the internet in order to determine whether the proposed phrase, words and designs are confusingly similar to others’ trademarks.
- If photos contain others’ trademarked products, have to remove or blur the trademarks.
- Inquire about the origin of artworks, photos, music, videos, etc.
- If a company obtains permission to use a work on a social media account, ensures all the planned uses have been disclosed to the rights holder especially any off-platform uses.
- The posts have to be avoided which encourages the followers to infringe
- For licensed works, it is important to cover that the license covers the intended use (For example A license which may cover the music to be played at an event but not allow for youtube videos of the event.
Plan your posts:
In order to appear spontaneous and connected, it is typical to post about the events and topics which is relevant to a certain target audience. In the culture of re-advertising can strain the relationship between the legal and marketing. In spite of that, it is possible to maintain the appearance of spontaneity while giving the legal team a chance to pre-approve the posts.
It is very useful to implement a social media calendar which is to predict the holidays and events that may include the pre-approval of multiple versions of posts to cover all the potential outcomes. This may provide time to buy, license or create content in order to avoid the infringing of others; rights.
Provide oversight and partner with marketing:
There are other ways the legal term can partnership with the marketing department in order to reduce the social media liability. Consider designating legal team members in order to follow the company’s social media accounts and provide the real-time legal review for the instances where the live posting is truly necessary. To avoid the embarrassing and the accidental offensive posts on a company account, have to restrict the employees from posting to both the company and individual accounts from the same device.
To understand your company’s online presence, training, implementation, planning and oversight procedures, legal and the marketing teams may partner up to empower social media posters and minimize the trademark and copyright risks in social media.
To know more information about Trademark Registration in Cochin -> Click here