Trademark Basics: Protecting Brands in 2024? Five Initiatives to Start Now

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For the last two decades, companies have been leveraging technology to uncover and remediate online brand abuse. But much has changed over the last 20 years including the types of brands being targeted, distribution channels, and the technologies available to protect them. So as we head into budget planning cycles for 2024, now is the time to reevaluate long-standing brand protection programs to ensure that they are aligned with your company’s tolerance for risk, budgets, and corporate objectives.  

1. Reassess Your Company’s Tolerance for Risk 

All brand protection programs should take into consideration a company’s tolerance for risk. Understanding this will help to drive brand protection budgets and focus. The real question here is whether this tolerance for risk has changed over time – either as a result of management focus, market dynamics, or a combination of the two? For example, trying to recover every registered domain containing a brand may have been a top concern a decade ago. But given resource constraints and other priorities, what may have previously been considered intolerable 10 years ago, may just not be worth the time and expense of pursuing in today’s environment. 

2. Align Budgets Strategically

This seems obvious – but when evaluating brand protection budgets, be sure to consider every line item including headcount, outside counsel, technology, and consultants. Understand how much you are spending and the benefit of each when evaluating budgets. Also, ensure that budgets are aligned with where abuse is occurring. This includes understanding which brands are most frequently abused, posing the greatest risk to safety, reputation, and the bottom line. 

3. Reevaluate Existing Vendors

Legacy brand protection providers have been around for more than 20 years now, and many still provide the types of services needed. However, there are a growing number of new entrants in the market providing point solutions leveraging advanced technologies. Assess whether your current brand protection has evolved to meet your current requirements. If you feel that there are gaps, consider issuing an RFP to identify a provider who can meet your specific needs.

4. Refine Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

On a monthly basis, mature brand protection programs typically measure abuse detection, remediation attempts, successful resolutions, costs incurred, and counterfeit value. But are these the “right” KPIs for your program? Are they helpful in refining strategies and allocating resources? Consider evaluating the time taken and money spent to resolve issues. Also leveraging industry benchmarks can be useful in determining how well you are doing for your specific industry. 

5.  Engage Brand Protection Councils

Brand protection councils serve as a central hub for strategic decision-making and collaboration. Composed of key stakeholders from various departments, they devise and implement strategies, policies, and actions aimed at safeguarding the integrity, reputation, and value of the company’s brands. At a minimum, brand protection councils should meet on a quarterly basis. They can act as a valuable resource for helping to define priorities.

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