Counterfeiting comes in all shapes and sizes – it’s no longer predominantly street corners or flea markets. In fact, counterfeiters can use the Internet and website domains therein to piggyback off successful brands more so than ever before. You’ll hear the term “cybersquatting,” to describe it.Cybersquatting is defined in U.S. federal law as “registering, trafficking in, or using an Internet domain name with bad faith and intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to someone else.”
There are ways to empower your brand and protect your business against these counterfeiters and squatters.
These anti-counterfeiting initiatives include the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number’s (ICANN’s) Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP) and Uniform Rapid Suspension System (URS) procedures.
UDRP & USR Policies
As a frame of reference, if you’re unaware of how copyright and trademark infringements work, we advise you to check out our previous blog here to catch yourself up to speed.
How UDRP and USR policies work is simple:
For those instances where the domain name of a website selling counterfeit products itself contains the brand, these policies can have the website shut down and even have the domain transferred to the complainant brand owner so that its customer traffic can be routed to a legitimate website.
UDRP and USR are extremely helpful because brands don’t need to conclusively verify that the products offered on a potentially counterfeit website are fake for it to be shut down.
Empower & Protect Your Brand
While these policies don’t dig up the source of the counterfeiter themselves, enforcing it discourages counterfeiters from attacking or becoming a repeat offender – especially if they get shut down quickly.
Utilizing these policies as a resource helps you take charge of your trademark, and enforce it much like the aforementioned cases have.
Want a few other starting points on how to stay alert to cybersquatting and counterfeiting? Consider these action items:
- If you have a unique brand, product or formula, consider registering for a trademark – this includes global trademarks wherever it’s being sold and circulated
- Have someone in your organization dedicated to brand protection – especially training and education for your employees
- Find a mentor who can provide sound advice for your company; an error of many organizations is listening to whoever shows you the ugliest portrayal of your brand, and promises you that they’ll fix it
- Stay up-to-date with the latest technology, so you can catch bad guys offline and online
There’s never a 100% guarantee that no one’s going to use your brand for ill; having 0 tolerance is simply unrealistic in today’s fast-paced world.
What you can do, however, is put all the best practices in place to reinforce and shut down websites and knockoffs that pop up. UDRP and USR are policies that can help you facilitate this in an effective and actionable way.
If you’re wondering about other ways you can maintain your brand’s image, feel free to check out our brand protection eBook!