Trademark and Copyright Violations

There are many ways that these kinds of violations occur. Sometimes, it is your own retailers that knowingly or unknowingly take liberties with your intellectual property. In other cases, your competitors intentionally steal from you.

If you are a brand owner that sells online through retailers, be sure to specify rules about how your products are presented, how trademarks should be used, and what sales copy and images are allowed. In general, making high quality copy and images available to your retailers costs little and helps avoid another serious problem: retailers that devalue your brand by using low quality images and copy.

There is another decision that you need to make in regards to trademarks with your authorized retailers: should they be allowed to use your trademarks when purchasing advertising. If you allow this practice, unless you police MAP violations carefully, you open the door to discounting, which does little to build your brand but shifts revenue between your retailers from those that are helping you build the brand to those who are just offering a low price.

it is very common for retailers of competing products to buy advertising based on other companies trademarks. At the moment, because online advertising is so new, there is not enough legal precedent to really determine the legalities of all the possible scenarios. However, there are steps that brand owners can take with the dominant online ad platforms like Google to somewhat police how competitors use its trademarks.

It is also common to see retailers of competing products steal copy and images. Normally, this is done by small retailers that are just trying to save time and money; a strongly worded legal letter will usually remedy the situation.