Simon Hopes, Negosentro | Whether you’re a multinational billion dollar company or a small independent bookstore, your brand identity is what sets you apart from your rivals and all other businesses, and if you’re not careful in the beginning, it can be taken away by thieves.
Of course, these thieves aren’t breaking into your offices with a swag bag and a mask. These are online identity thieves, who think nothing of stealing an idea, logo or slogan and taking it for themselves. If you haven’t covered yourself legally, there is nothing you can do about it. This is damaging to your brand and your business as a whole.
The logo and slogans of your company are what need to be protected first. Most businesses you know and love have a logo you instantly recognize and a slogan that makes you think of that brand. Nike has ‘Just Do It.’ McDonald’s’ have ‘I’m Loving It.’ KFC has ‘Finger-Lickin’ Good.’ Find yours and then get it protected.
Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can protect your businesses identity from these cunning identity thieves:
Purchase Domain Names
In the modern business world, an online identity, such as a website, social media, etc., is absolutely essential. It means that you need to cover yourself when you purchase the domain name for your website.
Let’s use Nike as an example. When they started Nike.com, you can bet that they also purchased .co.uk, various other country domains, and variations of Nike (Nike trainers, Nike clothing, etc.) so that imposter websites couldn’t muscle in on their game.
Of course, it’s easier to protect yourself when you’re already a huge established company. It’s a solid investment to buy a number of similar domains to your company name to stop a similar company from potentially taking traffic away from your products and services via your website.
Copyright and Trademarks
Have you ever read the inlay of a book, or watched the end credits of a movie to the very end? If you have, chances are you have seen the copyright and trademark information that legally protects your creative properties from being stolen, copied or used against your will.
Big businesses have a small ™ against their logo to show that it is a registered trademark and therefore cannot be reproduced unless the identity thief fancies shelling out for some huge fines. Imagine that Nike tick or Twitter’s blue bird being stolen and used elsewhere. You’d be kicking yourself if you weren’t protected.
It’s important that you read up on your copyright and trademark laws, and get protected legally as much as you can so that you are safe to create as much content for your business as you like both online and offline, safe in the knowledge that trademarks USA have you covered legally. It’s also a useful idea to learn how to write copyright and trademark icons for your online copy.
Head to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website to see if your trademark already exists, and if it isn’t, make sure it is as soon as you can.
Get Legal Assistance
Unless you are a large corporation with a legal team at your disposal, there’s a good chance that you won’t be 100% clued up on every detail of the law. With that in mind, it pays to have some form of legal assistance to hand. Someone to consult with when you have a brand identity crisis, such as people using your content or images without your permission or somebody pretending to be your company on social media. It does happen, and thinking that it won’t happen to you is not going to protect you legally. There’s plenty of advice on the web for you to delve into, but seeking legal advice is a solid investment.