Having a lawsuit filed against you in court, or receiving a cease and desist letter is never a welcome occurrence. For diverting multiple resources from your business and moving towards resolving the infringement disputes, it is essential to invest wisely in Intellectual Property (IP) before launching a website and avoid the following common pitfalls.
Pitfall No. 1 – TRADEMARK INFRINGEMENT
After selecting a brand name for your company, website, or product and spending an enormous amount of money in its promotion and marketing, you may receive a letter from another company or individual alleging that you are infringing its Trademark Rights. The plaintiff would demand you to stop the infringement of its brand or name. In this situation, you will face tough choices – would you rename your brand or pay a lawyer to fight on your behalf?
How to avoid it – Before investing too much in a brand name, run initial searches on the internet and applicable foreign databases like EUIPO, USPTO, and WIPO to come across already registered trademarks and candidate marks. Furthermore, you should also try to foresee the position of your company in the next three years and make sure no other company or organization is occupying a similar space in the business environment. Consulting a Trademark Attorney having additional resources and expertise can offer aid in identifying and evaluating the risks involved if any. Therefore, it would be wise to say that a little amount invested before can save you vastly more down the road.
Pitfall No. 2 – CHOOSING A NAME THAT CAN’T OBTAIN TRADEMARK PROTECTION
While selecting your brand name, you should make sure that the proposed trademark can be registered, enforced, and protected. Additionally, it should also be descriptive and relevant to your business and its marketing strategy so that you face no difficulty in stopping any other company from using a confusingly identical mark or claiming any damages.
How to avoid it – Once you have selected the name, you must file a Trademark Application by covering all the specifications of the proposed mark for your products or services. The application will then go through the examination phase, in which the proposed mark is examined to determine whether it is suitable for Trademark Registration or not. If the application is accepted, then the owner owns the exclusive rights acting as a deterrent to others adopting a similar name.
Pitfall No. 3 – FAILING TO COORDINATE BETWEEN YOUR DOMAIN NAME AND TRADEMARK
After getting your trademark registered, you would want to register the corresponding domain name for your website as well. However, in some cases, you might discover that the domain name, which you were looking forward to obtaining, has already been taken by another company or individual. If the owner comes to know about your plans of launching a web business with the same name, he would either stop you from doing so or ask you to pay a hefty sum to obtain the domain name.
How to avoid it – Coordinating the timing of Trademark Filing and disclosure of the intended name with the purchase of domain name can help in ensuring that both the names are affordable and available at the same time.
Pitfall No. 4 – USING PLAGIARIZED CONTENT
People nowadays often copy the content available on the internet and use it on their websites. Consequently, the owners of the copyrights in that content can initiate legal proceedings against you or demand monetary damages for using the material without their permission.
How to avoid it – Make sure you reserve all the rights to the content published on your website. You must never copy content, videos, or images without the consent of the owner. Furthermore, remember that using names of people or showing their faces while promoting your business may infringe their personality rights. Besides, you should also make a point to have all the agreements and contracts with any third-party content providers in place. Otherwise, the contractual worker will claim the copyright.