Before launching a website, a small investment and careful work on intellectual property (IP) can avoid the following common mistakes.
Case.1: Violating the trademark rights of someone else.
You have a new website or product; you have selected a brand name and spent a considerable amount to develop content and promotion materials around the brand name.
And now you receive a letter from an entity XYZ claiming that you are violating its trademark rights and demanding that you stop using the domain or business name. You are facing tough choices— are your going to rebrand it or are you gonna pay an attorney to fight the claim?
Go Select few candidates and do some diligence before you're heavily invested in a name.
While there may not be a thing as a 100% safe trademark, major risk, differences between different candidate marks are likely to occur.
Run initial internet searches, using USPTO website and other applicable foreign databases such as WIPO, EUIPO and the Canadian Trademarks Database to see if someone is already using the same or identical name for a related service or product.
Give a thought about what you expect your company to do in the coming three years when conducting these searches and try and make sure nobody occupies a similar space.
If you are not finding someone else using a relevant mark, consult a trademark attorney who has enough extra resources and expertise to find and assess any risks. Now a few thousand dollars can save you a lot more in the long run ahead for your business.
Case.2: Selecting a brand name or domain that can’t be secured or protected.
You have selected your brand name and are using it only to know later that it can not be registered, protected and/or enforced.
One may refer case of ECONTEXT’S registration, wherin the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board refused its registration for, among other things, "computerized market research services," finding it merely descriptive of the marketing strategy delivered electronically involving similar situational circumstances.
If you have not chosen a protectable brand name and have gone ahead and registered this name as a trademark, you may find it difficult to stop Company B from using a confusingly same looking kinda trademark or claiming certain types of damages.
Apply to register the name as a trademark after selecting it. A federal registration gives you ample benefits including a presumption of its ownership and validity as well as the right to claim some monetary damage.
This also acts as a disincentive to a similar name being adopted by others. See to it that your application covers all the products and services that you are hoping to offer in the coming years. Also apply in other countries where you wish to operate.
Enforce your rights to it once you have your mark. If you see any other entity or firm using a similar mark for a similar product, consult your lawyer on how to stop it.
Case.3: Non-coordination of domain name registration and trademark adoption.
You selected for a mark and filed it. But, it's already taken when you approach to register the corresponding domain name.
If the owner comes to know that you intend to start a website or business with the same name, it is possible that the owner will assume that you are desperate for it and might exploit the situation and make pay a heavy amount to get it.
Or, Under another case, you pay a lot of cash for a domain name just to find out that a trademark isn’t available for your company in the United States or in another significant industry.
To ensure that the name you choose is both available and remains affordable to buy in the U.S, Manage properly the time of your filings and any disclosure of your selected name with the purchase of domain names.
Case.4: Use of content that is not originally yours.
You use internet content when developing your website. Now the copyright owners of that content material are demanding claim amount because without their authorization you used the material.
For example, Getty Images frequently sends letters to suspected peeps of using their copyrighted stuff without their prior permission and files suit when such notices are ignored.
Ensure that you have proper rights or permission’s in place to use your website's entire content. Never use images or text without prior permission from the concerned person on internet. Try to create your own original stuff or else take prior permission from the rightful copy right owner of the said content.
Try to avoid using faces or using other people's names to promote your business this can possible violate the advertising rights of those persons. Ensure that you have proper agreements in place with any party that provides you content.
See to it that you take the copyright of all the work created by hiring any consultants or writers or any other providers, otherwise there is high chance that the copyright for the given stuff may remain with them.
Case.5: Unsubstantiated advertise claims, particularly in comparative ad’s.
You make claims about it on your website when promoting your new product or service on the basis of unsubstantiated or half information.
Claims of one company comaparing its products with some of its competitor company say XYZ, The company XYZ takes notice of all these claims and files a false advertising complaint or you come to know that these claims of your company are being questioned by FTC i;e Federal Trade Commission.
See to it that whatever you claim on your website (or other promotional materials) are truly valid and have a firm substantial and credible evidence and necessary supportings to make those claims.
If you wish to conduct any scientific tests or similar kind of analysis, use a reputed third party. see to it that you keep the required materials and supporting documents. If they are no longer valid, remember to update claims.
When make claims about other competitors competing products, be particularly careful. even though comparative advertising is not illegal in USA, necessary advertising and trade marking laws must be complied with.
Comparative advertising can be very efficient, but the risk is that your competitors are going to scrutinize it. hence, one needs to be extra careful as to not violate trademarks of your competitors or others.
And also one needs to ensure that their logos or names from being used and they do not point to any kind of association with you