Online Trademark Infringement
Online Trademark Infringement involves a number of unique issues that go beyond merely the act of using an owner’s trademark without their permission.
On the internet, trademark infringement frequently involves questions around whether Search Engine Optimization, or “SEO” was conducted in addition to the infringement. Finding out if SEO was involved can become a core issue that helps to establish whether trademark infringement was committed intentionally, and by how much the usage of another’s mark was incorporated in order to profit from it versus from other advertising and marketing activities. Search Engine Optimization can often be subtle, so detecting it and documenting the key elements of an infringing campaign can help persuade courts that unjust and willfully malicious activities have taken place with the intention of interfering with commerce and unfairly intercepting business that would’ve otherwise gone to the trademark owner.
In many ways, search engines have become the internet itself, since they are a primary gateway by which consumers come to discover websites about particular topics and go to them. Visibility within a search engine can make a website easy-to-find, while websites that cannot achieve a presence and good rankings within a search engine might seemingly be nonexistent, since many users would be otherwise unable to locate them (aside from advertising and website promotion through other channels).
Infringement Via Social Media
Social Media Platforms, such as Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, are another major online consumer channel where consumers can discover a website’s existence and go to it. Detecting trademark infringement via social media can be challenging, and often requires knowledge of specialized tools and methods to investigate.
Domain Name Infringement
Trademark infringement committed via registration of domain names is often called “Cybersquatting”, along with the closely-related practice of “Typosquatting”. Most major corporations and recognizable brand names have domain name infringement occurring, and are frequently unaware of it.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) Infringement
Individuals and companies that commit trademark infringement often do so quite blatently — even to the point of purchasing advertising that prominently features others’ trademarks. Trademark infringement committed via Pay-Per-Click (PPC) and other types of online advertising can be quite difficult to detect, despite the efforts advertising networks to keep it from happening.
Do you need an online trademark infringement expert?
Large companies that pursue litigation for online trademark infringement do so for a variety of reasons. Naturally, one must be seen to police and actively protect a mark in order to maintain ownership and control of it. But, companies also pursue enforcement in order to maintain profitability of the branding they have invested-in, and in order to reduce profits from overly-aggressive competitors seeking to ride on their established brands’ coattails. Sometimes companies pursue litigation for attendant publicity showing they have taken a competitor down a notch. Even further, currently in the era of increasing damages awards based upon corrective advertising campaigns, online trademark infringement lawsuits can even be a significant source of profit (albeit that this is actually a reparation for financial damages for losses that are typically not cited as a line-item in annual reports, rather than true profit). For all these reasons, larger companies can often easily justify the costs of infringement experts to help in establishing their cases.
Smaller companies may also find sufficient value in hiring online trademark infringement experts to easily justify the costs. Trademark litigation is a significant cost and there is no point in pursuing it without bullet-proofing one’s case as much as possible, and reducing risks of having the resource investment wasted. A skilled online trademark infringement expert can assist in checking technical facts, discover further proofs reinforcing claims of infringement, and help in establishing a basis for larger damage awards.
If you fear that your company may not be able to afford the costs of a trademark infringement lawsuit, there is greater chance of persuading legal firms to take the case based in whole or in part on contingency due to increasing damages awards based on the concept of corrective advertising. The online trademark infringement expert witness can help insure that all statistics involving infringement misimpressions are properly accounted, and can interpret internet analytics statistics understandably for judges and juries.
Contact Chris Smith, the online trademark infringement expert witness today for experienced, professional support.