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CONSTANTIN BRANCUSI

Covid 19 and its effects on Intellectual Property

18.06.2020


Our colleague, Ana Rotariu, is sharing her experience regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic over businesses and their IP. Interested to know how has this outbreak affected companies worldwide?

It is safe to say we are all experiencing challenging times, especially when it comes to businesses, either big or small. Even as countries and organizations race to reopen and re-engage in their activities, the global pandemic still poses significant problems to as all.

Though most businesses have been negatively affected by the worldwide spread of COVID-19, some enterprises have bloomed during this time. This is the case for online shopping platforms, some mobile apps, pick-up and delivery operators, to name a few, but, most importantly, for companies whose area of expertise revolves around sanitizing products.

Nevertheless, in some cases, a burst in sales also means potentially attracting unwanted attention from cybersquatters and opportunistic people, who try to take advantage of business efforts, through various means, especially in the online area. This is, most likely, one of the most important scenarios where IP rights and the investments they entail prove their worth.

To this extent, when introducing your business to the online area, you are vulnerable to different types of infringement, be it trademark infringement, copyrights, or designs. Even the specific “look and feel” of your website can be fraudulently duplicated, to hijack inexperienced clientele. Additionally, some types of products can be easily reproduced for a fraction of the original price, in terms of shape, coloring, layout or even composition, actions which can not only divert clients, but can also damage the company’s reputation and status on the market.

As such, when discussing intellectual property, a certain degree of protection is advisable at different stages in a company’s development, even more so when the company operates online. This is not to say that a major part of a company’s budget should be directed into their intellectual property, but nevertheless, the basics when it comes to an IP portfolio are the following:

  • Registered trademarks, at least for the core brands and the main countries of interest.
  • Registered domain name that is user-friendly and reflects your brands and main business and concept.
  • Registered website and copyright material in countries where such an option is available at the national copyright offices.

Needless to say, with the help of an experienced IP professional these issues can be tackled in manner that is both efficient, cost effective and can also be a stepping stone into extending the IP portfolio to more complex assets (such as patents for online business methods or industrial designs for ornamental features, if applicable).

Last but not least, with the help of the ever-evolving technology when it comes to IP related software, brand protection has now become even more efficient. Within relatively short time periods and without needing extensive amounts of information, a brand protection software can ensure not only a diligent monitoring of potentially infringing online activity, in almost any designated territory or even worldwide, but can also enforce existing IP rights automatically, via automatic scripts, thus reducing both time and resources.

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