Building and protecting your business brand online is different from building your personal brand. There are many things that need to be considered in order to be legally protected from the very beginning, no matter if you are just starting or you've been in the business for a while.
Here’s what you need to do to ensure your business brand is protected online:
Check whether the business or brand name is free. Before you decide whether to accept the brilliant name you thought of for your brand and business, you must first check whether it is available, or you might get in trouble. If the name is already taken your application will be rejected and you won’t be able to register it. You can do this check for free online.
Form a Limited Liability Company (LLC). It is important to form a LLC before you register your trademark because this way it can be placed under your LLC.
Register your trademark. To legally protect your assets, though not actually required by law, it is still good idea to register your trademark. The process lasts somewhere between 9 months and a year, and the costs are at least about $350, but it’s totally worthy of the security you get in return.
Protect your brand name nationally. If you expect your business to expand in the future out of your local area, you’ll have to protect your brand nationally as well, and not only by registering your name and forming a LLC.
Also register a Federal Trademark. If your business goes national, to protect your business brand against infringement you need to also register your trademark with the Federal US Patent and Trademark Office.
Get yourself a domain name. To communicate with your customers, no matter if your business is strictly online or you are using the Internet to get your brand out on the market, you’ll need a domain name for your company website. Register the best before someone else takes it and asks you for more money.
Protect your brand internationally. You never know how your business idea will develop – even though you are now just starting you may one day see excellent opportunities to expand your brand to different countries. It will then be important to have your brand internationally protected against infringement. Also file your trademark with the country where you are expanding your business.
Make sure your brand is protected against plagiarism. Original quality content is very important for your company website to rank higher in the popular search engine results. But if you don’t protect it against plagiarism other websites might steal it and create duplicates that will hurt your brand ratings and online reputation.
You can use the plagiarism checker to check whether the content on your website is unique and original. If you find your content has been stolen, you can first contact the plagiarist website or its hosting company and ask them to remove the duplicate content, or you can ask Google to help if additional steps are required.
About the author: Sandra Miller is a freelance writer from Brooklyn. She loves writing tech tips.