Policing Your Brand

Brands distinguish your goods or services from those of your competitors. You cannot own a brand if you allow others to use similar brands; and you can’t know if they are using similar brands unless you are monitoring your brand.

Policing a brand can take place in many ways. Informal policing happens as a normal course of business. For example, maybe you notice a new business in your town with a similar name, or a good customer tells you he’s happy you opened a new store near you. In these situations, you would probably investigate further. There is also technology available that can help you police in our super-connected world. These services yield reports of new usernames on social media, new apps, new business name filings, new trademark applications, and a host of other items.

I like to think of brand protection in terms of real property. Policing a brand is much like installing a security system in your house. Very few people would keep precious items (including their family) in a building that is not being monitored. It amazes me how often people build their business on top of a brand that they don’t attempt to secure.

I don’t expect entrepreneurs to know trademark law or how to protect their brands; that’s my job! All I need you to know is that your brand is important to you.