Brace yourself for more brand competition on the World Wide Web

FacebookTwitterLinkedInShare

Think you have the tools to protect your brand in cyberspace?  Spend an hour with lawyer Ashlee Froese @brandfashionlaw from Gilbert’s LLP and you’ll be convinced otherwise.


CPRS Toronto hosted a professional development program on March 29 with Ashlee Froese, a branding lawyer from Gilbert’s LLP whose practice encompasses trade-marks, branding and domain name laws.
For example, did you know that you can use the trade-mark symbol on your company’s trade-marks immediately, even before applying for registration, as soon as you start to use a new brand image, tagline or even a distinctive sound?  Froese strongly recommends that you do, “By adding the ™-symbol to your trade-marks, you’re sending a strong message to the public that your company owns the creative and is serious about protecting its brand assets.”  Of course, obtaining a trade-mark registration is the most prudent course of action to asserting your company’s branding rights.

Similarly, always add the copyright symbol to your written work and ideas.  To be complete, Froese advises that the copyright statement include the ©-symbol, name of the owner (individual/corporate entity), and publication year.  Footnote your website, social media sites and all new print materials in this manner.

If you think you’ve got these covered, do you also maintain your trade-mark registration and copyright portfolios as current on an ongoing basis?  If so, great, but are you ready for the exponential growth of the World Wide Web that will soon see the addition of web
domain names in a number of foreign languages and a virtual explosion of generic Top Level Domains?  Froese cautions, “It’s more important than ever to be proactive in owning the rights to your brand names online.”

You might also be surprised to hear how quickly you can get action against brand infringement online via domain name dispute resolution tribunals. Don’t be afraid to throw your weight around by responding to brand look-a-likes in cyberspace.  “There’s a common misconception that the online world is an unenforceable space.  It’s not the Wild West.  Dispute resolution forums have been created to assist brand owners,” says Froese.

For more information or to connect with Ashlee Froese, contact our PD program chair Natalie Bovair.

Leave a Reply