News and Insights
Why online monitoring matters
Being the caretaker of a thriving brand can be challenging. In addition to building and managing a healthy and effective trademark portfolio, the ever-evolving online world must also be taken into consideration.
For those with responsibility for the brand, as a starting point there are three key elements that should be looked at when it comes to the online world:
1. Domain name infringements – these include where the trademark is being used either identical and/or confusingly similar with additional words or letters, “typo squatting” where a registrant deliberately sets a domain to take advantage of consumers mistyping a domain name;
2. Counterfeit products – research indicates one in six products sold online are counterfeit, with significant impact for brand owners; and
3. Phishing – phishing schemes are becoming more sophisticated, where fraudsters use a seemingly legitimate website to gather sensitive information either through an online form or email campaign.
An online monitoring service can guard against these elements. By using such a service, the brand custodian can be alerted early to potential risks, and can take either preventive or corrective actions where relevant to avoid damage to a valuable brand.
There are many online monitoring tools on the market, but it can still be an issue for brand custodians to have the time, resources and expertise to review the many hits generated by such tools and to narrow the focus to the hits that really matter. For example, BRANDIT recently did a historical search for a new client and the tool generated over 2,000 domains ‘hits’ which were potentially infringing for that brand. After carefully reviewing the very long hit-list, our legally qualified specialist narrowed it down to a short list of 43 domains, of which quite a number were clearly seeking to profit from our client’s brand, taking advantage of consumer typos to try to sell competing products and services. This short list including recommendations gave the client the information she needed to make fast and well-informed decisions as to which infringing domains they would pursue.
In short, even with the best quality monitoring tools, utilizing the ‘human touch’ of an experienced practitioner to review the hits and focus the reporting can have a significant impact.