You may have heard the term “brand abuse” and wondered exactly what it is. More importantly, how do you protect your business and your good name from this type of intellectual property (IP) infringement?
Brand abuse is when a person or entity attempts to exploit someone else’s brand. They may do so for their own profit or other benefit or to harm the reputation of the brand. They may target various IPs associated with the brand, including trademarks, patents and copyrights.
Some examples of brand abuse
There are numerous types of activities that fall under the umbrella of brand abuse. Counterfeiting a product, logo or other IP is a common one. So are look-alike products. Often these involve a logo or packaging made to look like a popular brand, but they’re not exactly the same.
Here are some other types of brand abuse:
- Trademark infringing listings: This is when a brand-name product appears on the front of an online marketplace to draw in people, but the product isn’t sold there.
- Design-infringing products: A product may duplicate the look and design of a brand name one, but there’s no trademarked logo on it.
- Trademark squatting: This involves registering a trademark in a country where it’s not registered to sell a fake product there or get the trademark owner to buy it back from them.
- Cybersquatting: This can involve taking a domain name associated with a popular brand or even a person before they can claim it. Sometimes cybersquatters will make their domain name one character off to take advantage of people mistyping it to direct them to their website.
- Brandjacking: This often involves using a logo to imply an association that doesn’t exist.
These are just selected examples. With more and more commerce being done online, brand abuse has become easier to do and harder to catch. A business can’t be expected to monitor the entire internet. There are companies that can help businesses do exactly that.
If you’ve been the victim of brand abuse that has affected your business financially and/or harmed your reputation, find out what legal recourse you have. An experienced attorney can help.