Article written by AlphaPixel Reach team member Kelsey Johnson.
With the rise of technology in today’s society, digital marketing is, more than ever, at the forefront. As new technology is being adopted by consumers, digital marketing is thriving exponentially. Let’s face it, building a brand is no easy task! It takes hard work, dedication, and endless creative thinking. Digital marketing can indeed be a very effective tool for small businesses to achieve big results! However, don’t overlook the importance of protecting your brand’s intellectual property from theft and infringement.
What is Intellectual Property?
Your brand is a product of hard work, so it is a great matter of importance to acknowledge and take action to protect it! As a digital marketer, you are subject to various intellectual property rights. Before we dive in, here is a brief overview of what intellectual property entails. Intellectual property (IP) is defined as “creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, and names and images used in commerce” (World Intellectual Property Organization).
Digital Marketing & Intellectual Property
In the context of digital marketing, intellectual property includes creative work contingent on copyright protection and trademark protection. Now you may be thinking, what can be protected in my digital space? Well, you have various Intellectual Property rights for marketing your business! Digital Marketing assets containing intellectual property may range from your website platform, social media channels, and online advertisements.
Know YOUR rights…
In the digital space, a website is composed of various elements subject to protection under the law. Copyright law will protect your text, photographs, illustrations, images or artwork you have produced. As the original creator of your website, you have the automatic right of copyright, but in order to receive compensation for damages and fees in a successful copyright suit, you need to have registered your copyrighted work.
Furthermore, trademark law will protect your words/phrases and designs such as your brand name, slogan, and logo. Trademark protection can also extend to uniquely stylized fonts, colors, sounds, shapes. A trademark needs to be filed and successfully registered to make use of those rights.
Patent laws will protect the specific processes that encompass your website. For example, you can patent your website idea or process if it is truly unique. A patent needs to be a unique idea and has to be applied for and granted to protect your idea.
Just as you expect others to respect your copyrights, trademarks and patents, it is critical that you honor the intellectual property of others. This can include ensuring images and text you use in your business and marketing are legally obtained. DO NOT simply download any image off the internet to use! Do not assume
you can copy other site verbiage without giving proper credit. Make sure you are using materials in the way that would make your high school or college English teachers proud!
Lastly, Protecting YOUR Brand & IP
To fully protect your brand, it is significantly important to know your intellectual property rights! There are a few things you can do to monitor your content.
- Set up a Google Alert for your brand, tagline or other key phrases that you want to protect. Google will scan the internet for new material using the words you have set up and send you emails when those are found. This is a great way to monitor your brand identity!
- Maintain a consistent brand identity. Stay with one logo, a standard color scheme, standard tagline etc to maintain a strong trademark.
- If you find someone using your materials, I strongly advise you to seek guidance from your business attorney. They will be able to provide you with the correct advice needed to protect your valuable assets!
AlphaPixel Reach understands how important your intellectual property is. We also want to ensure you do not encounter legal issues due to misuse of other people or business’ intellectual property. If you would like to discuss how this will impact your digital marketing, reach out and we would be happy to talk to you.