Internet Branding, brand thieves and the Courts; One for the good guys

internet brandingBranding; companies spend tremendous amounts of efforts to properly brand themselves, their products or services in order to develop customer loyalty. Loyalty pays off in sales, and that’s what being is business is all about.

Until just recently it was quite easy for the unscrupulous to create a domain name with extreme similarities to yours, and steal’ your branding for nefarious purposes.
Congress in the ‘Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act’ found:

‘ that the unauthorized registration or use of trademarks as Internet domain names or other identifiers of online locations (commonly known as `cybersquatting’)–
(1) results in consumer fraud and public confusion as to the true source or sponsorship of products and services;
(2) impairs electronic commerce, which is important to the economy of the United States; and
(3) deprives owners of trademarks of substantial revenues and consumer goodwill.

So what can you do?

1. Thank Facebook, because the U.S. District Court for Northern California has just ruled in their favor, which is a leg-up for all of us in action against 105 cyber squatters. Penalties metered out to these shysters were over $2.7M.
2. Be proactive in researching your domain name and alternatives constantly.
3. Be proactive in protecting your trademarks by placing those who you feel are impinging on your Brand on notice.
4. Work with a good Intellectual Property attorney and find out your rights and obligations to protect your Brand.