Your intellectual property rights, like trademarks, copyrights and patents, are your assets, and you have the right to decide who, when, where, and how to use them.
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As they are valuable assets, you must make sure that they are not stolen, copied, exploited or used without your consent.
We’ll explain what’s intellectual property (IP) infringement and how to protect your brand – rapidly and effectively with Wiser Market online brand protection services.
What is Intellectual Property Infringement?
An intellectual property (IP) infringement is the violation of an intellectual property right.
Intellectual property rights include protected rights such as trademarks, copyrights, patents, and trade secrets.
Although intangible, intellectual property rights are your assets. Therefore, it is illegal to violate them, and IP owners can stop third parties from doing so.
What are the Most Common Types of Intellectual Property?
Here are the 4 most common categories of intellectual property:
- Trademarks: Trademarks are usually words, phrases, symbols, designs, or a combination of these that distinguish the products and services of one business from others. As a source identifier, trademarks protect the unique identity of your business. They are the best way to create recognition and enable customers to identify the source of the goods or services. Sometimes, a unique shape or design can be trademarked as a trade dress or color trade mark.
John Deere’s green and yellow color mark. Source: Unsplash
Trademarks can become extremely valuable and brands work hard to protect them and make sure they last.
Famous trademarks. Source: Unsplash
- Copyrights: Copyrights are rights that protect original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression, “… including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works,” as described by the U.S. Copyright Office. Some examples of copyrights include photographs, videos, music and podcast recordings, articles, logo designs, computer software, and other creative works. Once the conditions set out in the law are met, original creative works are protected regardless of their merit or commercial value.
- Patents: Patents protect innovation, and the patent owner has the exclusive right to authorize the making, using, selling, distributing, offering for sale or importing of patented goods, processes, and registered designs.
- Trade Secrets: Trade secrets shield confidential information that is commercially valuable, known only to a limited group of people, and has been subject to reasonable steps to keep it a secret. Trade secrets are used to give a company a competitive advantage. Some examples include technical information, prototypes, formulas, recipes, methods, and procedures.
What are Examples of Intellectual Property Infringement Online?
1) Counterfeiting: Counterfeiting is one of the most harmful forms of trademark infringement. Counterfeit products are illegal fakes that imitate the real thing, fooling customers into believing they are getting the genuine product. Other times, customers are aware but look for the opportunity to buy a fake instead of paying the full price for the original goods.
Today, everything is counterfeited, from sneakers to toys, pharmaceuticals and pesticides, and from olive oil to automotive parts. Counterfeits are not only harmful to brands. They create health, safety, and environmental risks and can be dangerous for consumers. Most counterfeits are sold online through marketplaces and social media accounts.
2) Digital Piracy: Online copyright infringements are also called digital piracy. A copyright violation occurs when a third party uses all or a portion of a protected work without the consent of the owner. Sometimes, copyright infringement means that a third party uses a protected work in a way that violates copyright protection even though it’s not an exact replica. Whether done for malicious purposes or not is irrelevant – copyright infringement is illegal except when it falls under one of the exceptions to copyright violations, such as fair use.
Digital piracy includes various types of infringements, such as:
a. Unauthorized images – original photographs and graphics replicated and uploaded online.
b. Content copying – Stealing a brand’s copy or content and uploading it to a social media account or listing.
c. Illegal streaming – It is forbidden to upload works like music or videos without authorization (and yet it happens all the time).
3) Patent Violation: Patent infringement occurs when someone makes, uses, sells, or offers to sell a patented product or design without the consent of the patent owner. For example, when a third-party leases someone else’s patent.
4) Brand Impersonation: Misleading domain names (such as lookalike domains and almost-identical domain names), lookalike websites, app impersonation, fraudulent social media accounts and more which replicate your identity and confuse unsuspecting customers into believing they represent a business that they don’t.
5) Stealing secrets: The copy, distribution or otherwise use of confidential information without the consent of the business or brand is prohibited.
How Does Intellectual Property Infringements Affect Businesses?
If not dealt with and eliminated, intellectual property infringement can affect brands in various ways, such as:
- Lose Revenue – Sales of fakes and diverting traffic to an infringing listing or website result in fewer sales for the original brand.
- Inhibit Growth – Unfair competition can inhibit growth, reduce market share or make it harder to win more.
- Damage Brand Reputation – A company’s reputation is easily damaged by low-quality counterfeit goods. Yet, it’s about more than quality: Counterfeits and unauthorized gray marketing products may also pose health and safety risks to consumers, hurting both customers and brands.
- Hurt Consumer Trust – When consumers buy a product just to find out it’s fake or a cheap knockoff, it affects their trust in the brand.
- Business Relationships – Relationships with authorized distributors and other business partners are likely to suffer when the brand is unprotected, and the same goes for investments in the business.
Now Stop Intellectual Property Infringements
In a digital world, businesses constantly face the risk of third parties violating their intellectual property rights.
The best way to counter the threat of intellectual property infringement is to be proactive.
To successfully combat online IP infringements, choose a partner with the technology, expertise, and team to help you address online intellectual property infringements in a way that is time and cost-effective.
Wiser Market helps brands large and small to eliminate online infringements.
Our advanced technology scans online channels and detects unauthorized use of your intellectual property rights on marketplaces, websites, social media, apps, and other digital channels.
Wiser Market’s highly effective online brand protection strategy safeguards your revenue and brand reputation, with a proven track record of over 95% success rate.
At Wiser Market, we protect your brand so you can grow your business.
Need to protect Your Brand?
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WiserTip: We know there is no “one size fits all” and tailor our brand protection strategy to your brand’s unique needs.
Why register a trademark?
The benefits of a registered trademark include:
- Exclusive rights to use the trademark
- Nationwide priority
- Improved brand reputation
- Better trademark enforcement
- Enables registration in other countries based on the national trademark
What are the benefits of patents?
- Exclusive rights to use the invention, sell or license it
- Competitive advantage
- Ability to enforce rights
- Mitigated risk of IP infringements
- Attractive for partners and investors
What is Online Brand Protection?
Digital brand protection services counter online threats and protect your intellectual property assets. Whether you wish to fight counterfeiting, protect your domain name, prevent trademark, copyright and brand infringements, or combat gray market selling and knockoffs, use Wiser Market’s online brand protection services. Online brand protection safeguards your brand’s revenue, profitability, reputation, customer service and brand trust.
What are brand protection services?
Brand protection services combat brand infringement. They include detection, analysis and enforcement of the intellectual property rights of businesses of all sizes. For more information, visit https://wisermarket.com/
What are the benefits of online brand protection services?
Online brand protection services are a must-have in today’s digital economy.
- Protect what’s yours – Your intellectual property rights are your assets.
- Less counterfeit products – Eliminating counterfeit listings online significantly reduces the motivation to produce them.
- Grow your profits – Fewer fakes means more profits for your business. Counterfeiters divert traffic and hurt sales, and it’s almost impossible to beat their pricing because they claim to offer “your” products or services at lower prices.
- Increase market share – A counterfeit seller is an unfair competitor for your market share. Dealing with counterfeiters helps to win back market share.
- Reduce the cost of doing business – Marketing costs rise when third-party sellers bid up paid advertising costs and/or erode legitimate search engine optimization.
- Encourage investment in your business – Perceived business value rises when your brand is strong.
- Faster growth – Counterfeits and unfair competition inhibit growth.
- Protect your reputation and customer trust – Illicit goods damage hard-earned brand reputation. The illegitimate use of any of the brand’s distinguishing features by others results in confusion and jeopardizes the brand’s trustworthiness.