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Does Having a Website Protect my Brand


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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Issued on 11th October 2010

Does Having a Website Protect my Brand?

Trade marks are essentially territorial and as such the associated rights in relation to preventing infringement are to a certain extent limited according to the jurisdictions in which a trade mark is registered and or used. Therefore generally a trade mark owner from one jurisdiction would not necessarily be able to stop someone from using its mark in another jurisdiction.

This basic position has arguably been complicated by e-commerce.

The internet and wide spread use of e-commerce mean that a trade mark has a wider reach than was previously the case, given that a website can potentially be viewed by anyone, anywhere in the world. Therefore at a basic level it would appear that if a company displays its goods or services on a website, its trade marks are potentially being used on a global scale given that customers in any country may be able to access the website.

However this is an over simplification. In order to bring an infringement action it is likely that the trade mark owner would need to be able to show more than just a theoretical availability of the website within the jurisdiction in which infringement is alleged.

A trade mark owner would need to able show that he has actually had dealings with customers within that jurisdiction. This may be achieved either through: advertising directed specifically at that country,the website itself being specifically directed to customers in that country, or through evidence of a significant number of sales within the country.

In addition in the absence of any registered rights within that jurisdiction the trade mark owner will have to rely on the law relating to unregistered trade marks in the country in question. This is likely to impose a heavier burden of proof than is required in respect of a registered trade mark. For example in the UK in the absence of any registered rights it would be necessary to show that:1. the sign was recognised by the relevant consumers as identifying the goods of the business or person in question, 2. that consumers are likely to be confused by use of the alleged infringing sign, 3. that damage has been suffered as a result.

Lawdit Solicitors specialise in commercial and intellectual property law.

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2010-11-02 12:08:27 in Legal Articles

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