Unauthorized sellers. Fake reviews. Counterfeits and knock-offs. These are just some of the threats to your brand. KJK’s Innovate Brand Protection Group identifies, protects, and defends your hard-earned company and product reputation.
Combating Unauthorized Online Resellers
Unauthorized resellers are a growing problem for manufacturers with the rise of Internet sales and online platforms like Amazon and eBay. Unauthorized resellers buy a company’s products in bulk from third parties, generally at a significant discount, and then resell the products online. These resellers harm a company’s brand and reputation, cut into profit margins, and upset a company’s legitimate authorized resellers. KJK has developed 4-step system to thwart unauthorized resellers, which is not only innovative and efficient, but also cost effective.
- Step 1: Prepare foundational documents. The first step is to establish enforceable legal claims against these unauthorized resellers, while overcoming the hurdle of the First Sale Doctrine. This includes drafting and implementing authorized reseller agreements.
- Step 2: Identify Resellers. KJK has resources to identify unauthorized resellers, who often hide behind fictitious names or “storefronts.” We have experience with DMCA subpoenas that can be used to acquire the true identity and contact information for unauthorized resellers.
- Step 3: Enforcement Process. We advise sending multiple cease and desist letters, beginning with a “friendly” first letter requesting that reseller cease its infringing conduct. The letters escalate from that point forward with the threat of legal action. This method is effective with the majority of resellers, and also helps to establish legal claims against those who continue to sell your products. This process can be rolled out in a cost-effective and efficient manner, which allows us to go after a broad swath of unauthorized resellers.
- Step 4: Legal Action. When the cease and desist letters fail, and the rogue retailers continue to offer your products, the final step is filing a lawsuit. Many times this action will lead to default judgments against the resellers that can be presented to websites like Amazon, which will remove the seller’s listings of your products.
Registering your company’s trademarks and copyrights is crucial to the creation and development of your brand. KJK can file copyright registrations and has extensive experience in the trademark prosecution process, which involves filing trademark applications, responding to office actions issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and ultimately obtaining a registration from the USPTO. KJK can also assist in maintaining your trademark registrations, as well as in defending your trademarks against those infringing on your rights.
Once your brand has been established, KJK is here to increase your brand’s visibility and reach within the marketplace. KJK can assist in licensing your brand to strategic partners to help advance your business. Companies with established brands should also consider a franchise model as a means of continuing to build a brand. KJK can help you navigate through the legal intricacies of franchise law.
Building a brand, protecting it, and defending against threats go hand-in-hand with the decisions that you and your marketing professionals make. Those decisions and the laws protecting consumers need to be carefully weighed. From Federal Trade Communication issues to rights of publicity, social media threats, entertainment licensing and endorsement agreements, KJK can rapidly respond to all the ways in which you promote and build your brand. These include advising on how to create and enforce brand protection guidelines, crafting press releases, reviewing advertisement copy, and advising on deploying and responding to social media.
Protecting Your Domain Name
Trademark owners often discover that imposters have created domain names that use their mark in a confusing manner. The registrants of these domain names are attempting to trade on the established goodwill of your mark. This hurts your brand and diverts sales away from your website. Fortunately, this practice is illegal. KJK can assist in transferring or canceling these domain names through the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP).
Minimum Advertised Price Policies (MAP)
Manufacturers are increasingly implementing MAP Policies to protect the company’s brand and to increase competition among the company’s authorized resellers. KJK can assist in creating and implementing a MAP Policy that is easy for resellers to understand and follow, adheres to anti-trust regulations and avoids price fixing allegations.
We operate in a global economy, and as a result, there has been an increase in the number of counterfeit goods manufactured in other countries and shipped to the U.S. If your company is being negatively impacted by the import of counterfeit goods, KJK can assist in notifying the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to prevent these goods from ever entering the marketplace.Print Page