In my previous blog about brand management, I discussed what a brand is, the importance of developing a brand, and how to manage it. With all the time and effort you spend accomplishing this, it becomes increasingly crucial that this investment is sufficiently protected.
- An inventory/audit of your IP portfolio to discover what marks are not protected, which marks are not being used so resources should no longer be invested in mark maintenance and protection, and potential license opportunities for revenue generation.
- Trademark registration of house marks and product marks.
- Watch services to uncover potential infringement issues.
- Investigators for “boots on the ground” policing (eyes and ears on the streets reporting back to management).
- Internet policing to prevent competitors from infringing.
- Work with customs officials to keep foreign infringers from entering the US market.
- Lobbying for favorable laws and policies to combat infringement and increase government enforcement efforts.
- Promoting a pro-IP agenda for the government and business community to create policies that protect your IP rights.
- Domain name registrations surrounding your trademarks.
- Educating employees, vendors, distributors, and sales people about infringers and counterfeiters and developing a program to report suspicious activity to management.
- Licensing program for authorized users of your mark.
- Compliance program for licensees to ensure the mark is being used properly.
A good brand protection will involve some combination of these approaches and methods. Members of your valuable business network, such as your marketing and management teams and your trademark attorney, are critical players in utilizing these tools. Your brand management plan should analyze each of these methods to determine which are best for your company.