Building up a strong brand identity for your company can help you stay ahead of competitors and become a leader in your chosen industry. A lot of factors contribute to the success of your business such as a memorable logo, a consistent online presence, and a customer-centric approach. It’s not enough to establish your brand, though.
As an entrepreneur, you need to be aware of the legal protection you must obtain for the physical and intellectual properties of your venture. Here are some guidelines to help you in protecting your brand legally:
1. Create a Memorable Logo
Whether you’re selling products or services, you must design a distinctive logo that consumers will instantly associate with your brand once they see it. It’s valuable in helping your customers recall what you’re selling and put your company name at the top of their heads. You can use this mark for packaging and advertising.
2. File for a Trademark
A trademark can be a word, phrase, symbol, or design that is unique to your brand. It should differentiate your company from others. Registering and getting the approval of the United States Patent and Trademark Office or USPTO gives you the right to utilize the mark on your products across the country.
There are various aspects to think about like when to consider getting a trademark. If you’re still in the developing stages with your venture, you can wait it out until you’re sure about what products you want to sell and what niche your company will cater to. Nonetheless, you can also file for this document before you start selling goods to your customers so that you have legal protection in case another entity uses your logo or brand name.
A federal trademark registration can:
- Grant you full ownership of the trademark anywhere in the country with the creation of a public record for your right.
- Allow you to report cases of infringement to the federal court.
- Enable you to keep watch over the use or misuse of the mark by other organizations.
- Protect you from trademark trolls, or people who register marks in advance which they will give to business owners in exchange for payment or a ransom.
- Prevent your competitors from using the mark.
3. Guard Your Web Content
Aside from your logos and other innovations, you must be aware of the merits of protecting your web content such as texts, audio, and visual data found on your site. These factors play significant roles in increasing traffic to your domain. Defend them by registering with Digital Millennium Copyright Act Services Ltd., or DMCA.com.
The private company provides takedown services, where they remove content from another website at the request of the owner or the one who owns the copyright. You can also protect your domain with the tools they have like website scanners, photo watermark, and website detective. Their basic protection package is free and is ideal for small, personal sites. Their premium Protection Pro option will cost you just 10 USD a month and is perfect for professional websites and businesses.
4. Turn on Google Alerts
Google Alerts is a feature of the search engine company that allows you to explore the entire web for content that interests you. Aside from being a valuable tool in predicting digital marketing trends, you can set it up in a way that you get a comprehensive and accurate list of where your brand is mentioned. This way, you can monitor what groups are talking about your company and whether others are duplicating your content.
These two special characters can vastly improve the alert results for your business:
- Quotes – Adding quotes to your search words to find specific phrases. You can use this for checking who’s using your taglines.
- Hyphens – Inserting hyphens at the beginning of a term will eliminate results with that term. This is helpful if you’re in a saturated market and only want to view results that are relevant to your business.
You may be tempted to delay registering your trademark or setting up protection for your web content because you may only consider this venture as a sideline or a temporary arrangement. However, with today’s technology and the ease of interconnectivity, the entire world can be your marketplace. That’s why it’s crucial that you go beyond setting up defenses locally and legally protect your company’s assets in other countries as well to prevent the misuse and misrepresentation of your brand.