One could say that a company’s success can be measured on the attempts to counterfeit its brand. Behaviours such as theft of a company mark, illicit use of the label of an organic trademark, and even the use of an unregistered trademark in place of its holder represent unfair business practices punished by the law in Italy and worldwide.
Trademark infringement is a crime insofar it causes economic damage to the company/entrepreneurship holder of the trademark. Moreover, the more famous a company is, the more it is subject to counterfeiting and illicit use of its copyrighted registered trademark.
- 1 Trademark protection and defence. Brand identity and brand protection
- 2 Cases of trademark infringement
- 3 The digital revolution and cybersquatting or typosquatting
Trademark protection and defence. Brand identity and brand protection
The personal brand in which someone makes their identity is the value and the customer’s overall perception of your business. The attention to the branding and to the way the mark is projected is one of the elements that makes a company market competitive, as its product makes it recognisable by customers. As a matter of fact, it is often not the product per se to make the difference, but the ability to synthesize in one brand name or logo the main unconscious characteristics of the target, which are used to identify the competitive market. The use of certain colours, vertical graphics, the selection of specific words that pinpoint the essence of the commercialised product or better, the essence of a business, are all crucial elements of a company’s success.
For this reason specifically, the most effective actions to protect a trademark are preemptive, starting at the very moment of the trademark registration. In those instances, the advice of an expert attorney about the correct trademark registration procedure is highly recommended, as they will be able to guarantee the necessary legal guidance so as not to jeopardise the intense work made to start up the business.
Given two similar products, customers will choose the most famous. That is why worldwide, as well as in Italy, there are copyright regulations, economic competition is protected, trademarks and brand trade are defended, and intellectual property is recognised. Hence why it is fundamental to protect trademarks through registration against unfair business practice. The Italian Patent and Trademark Office organises national trademark registration procedures. However, european, international and foreign trademarks can also be registered.
Cases of trademark infringement
Trademark infringement affects property rights, and even before profit it ruins the trust that the business has built in its clientele by misleading its customers. This type of damage is not limited to the loss of sales at a given point. Trademark violation and its illicit use are deceptive practices with far-reaching consequences: a customer who bought a counterfeit product might easily lose trust and never again purchase from that brand despite being aware that the mark has been counterfeit and illicitly used.
The digital revolution and cybersquatting or typosquatting
With the advent of digital technology, this type of problems extended to e-commerce and the work of copyright lawyers became considerably more complicated. The digital revolution has extended the problems connected to trademarks defence and brand protection, and attorneys dealing with copyright have consequently extended their field of action in order to obtain as much as possible from a patent or trademark registration.
Cybersquatting, for instance, is one of the ‘new’ illegal activities of digital trademark infringement. It can affect large companies or celebrities, either way causing extensive reputational damage.
Despite the variety of cases of domain name infringement, the different techniques of typosquatting still represent unchartered territory from a purely regulatory point of view. However, anyone affected by the improper online use of their brand of registered trademark by unauthorised subjects can request protection and compensation for the loss or damage with the assistance of an attorney, in order to get defence against unfair competition. In fact, despite a specific legislation not being yet in place, such deceptive trade practices fall within the area regulated by the law against unfair business practice.
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