How Is Trademark Relevant To Online Platforms?
Take the scenario of the launch of an e-commerce store. For this, the owner expends much effort, sweat and finance to construct a solid foundation for it. Slowly, the products and the brand earn a fairly good reputation with customers.
Now comes the setback! It so happens that someone else is ripping you off. They will have replicated the company name, the logo and the products of your new online business. They may be making good sales using your creativity and hard work.
Now you wonder whether this situation could have been avoided by filing for a trademark for your intellectual property. The latter seems like a major headache, but considering the situation, might be worth the effort. So, what is entailed in the process?
Though copycat rivals cannot be eliminated totally, trademarks can provide an extra layer of protection. In the event of legal disputes, the trademark can be displayed as proof of an original idea and that one is the first person to emerge with the latter.
Because of their fuzzy nature and the quick-moving quality of the business, trademarks are neglected by most e-commerce entrepreneurs. But trademarks are a crucial asset for all businesses, and their worth has only swelled with time.
What are trademarks?
They are anything that helps in the identification of a product, such as a name, word, design, symbol, device, logo, slogan or a combination of such items. It could be as simple as the name of the e-store, the colour of the product, the logo of the business or even its mascot.
The trademark is often the most crucial asset for a company. Through trademark registration online or at the office, the services and products of a company are easily identified by the public, especially its customers. Though registration of a trademark is not compulsory, it provides a host of benefits.
It will protect the brand from unauthorised use and infringement by third parties. Hence, trademarks are liked by most businesses to avoid future problems.
Scenario in India
In recent years, the e-commerce sector in the country has boomed. Many small and medium businesses have jumped on the e-commerce bandwagon and affiliated themselves with leading online platforms like Amazon and Flipkart. Because of the surge in net usage, all brands and products are available all over.
Hence, it is vital for all businesses to have a unique trademark for their e-commerce businesses. This will aid in the quick and easy recognition of products of an e-commerce seller as different from other counterfeit or identical products.
When customers recall the trademark of a service or product, they will search for the latter and indulge in repeated purchases. This will slowly build up the goodwill and reputation of the company. The unique trademarks of products will be identified by customers all over the country.
Benefits of trademarks
Registration of trademarks is not mandatory for an online business. But such registration is favoured because it safekeeps the business from unauthorised use and provides many benefits to owners of trademarks.
- Prior use
As per trademark law, you will gain primacy in case your business has registered the trademark before other competitors. This implies that in case there is evidence that you are the first user of a trademark, you will enjoy an edge over a third party like a competitor. Hence, experts often recommend the use of a trademark as soon as the business is launched and to gain registration for acquiring proof for prior use by the business.
- Right for transfer
Once the trademark has been registered, the owner of the trademark has the freedom to assign such rights to a third party. The capacity to transfer trademarks aids the business in attracting potential investors and customers.
- Protection of business
Much protection against the misuse of products can be provided by gaining a trademark for the same. Trademarks protect the name and logo of the business from unauthorised and illegal use by third parties.
- Safety of brand value
Adequate protection for the products of the business, both at the global and national level, is provided by the registration of trademarks. Such trademarks offer the needed value and recognition of the brand. It prevents unauthorised use and injury to the reputation of the brand.
- Benefits of marketplace
Reputed e-commerce mammoths such as Amazon, Flipkart etc., offer e-commerce businesses an opportunity to register the trademark on their platforms. Amazon even provides brand registry programs. Such specific registries help in enhancing market avenues and access to the right analytical data for sellers on these platforms or elements of such registries.
- Help in search of trademarks
Every business which registers its trademark and submits an application for the same will first conduct a detailed search on the website for the Indian Trademarks Office. This serves as an extensive search which will help in avoiding massive expenses at later stages. On the website of the Indian Trademarks Office, all filed trademarks similar to your trademark in consideration can be viewed. This helps prevent the registration of identical trademarks that can result in confusing customers and unauthorised misuse.
- Help in growing or selling the business When the business grows and carves a name for itself in the industry, the value of trademarks only rises. The future acquisition of the business by a bigger company is possible only due to the intangible value linked to the brand that has been built up. Trademark registration also helps a business to expand from its core operations and pave the way to move through varying industries.
In sum, trademarks are vital for e-commerce players. The reason is that this aids retailers to set up their identity on various platforms of e-commerce. Trademarks ensure that the reputation of the brand will not be sullied by third parties like competing businesses by using its logo, tagline or name. Such name recognition and connection with the brand will improve e-commerce sales. To exploit such benefits, all e-commerce businesses must apply for trademark as soon as possible.