This is how an e-commerce brand can protect its intellectual property rights

The Spanish consumer can no longer live without using electronic commerce. According to the latest data collected by the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), the income of the e-business Within our country they rose by 16% year-on-year, registering a turnover of 15.3% with more than 335 million transactions in the last quarter.

These figures show the considerable economic growth opportunities linked to e-businessbut they are also reasons for the increased risk of counterfeiting and infringement of intellectual property, on the one hand, and of existing protections, on the other.

According to a study by the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) and EUROPOL (European Union Agency for Police Cooperation), the categories most affected by counterfeiting in electronic commerce are perfumery and cosmetic products and the pharmaceutical productswith more than 70% of seizures at EU borders related to internet sales.

How to register an e-trademarkbusiness and what can be done to protect your intellectual property.

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1. The intellectual property of the website

According to EU copyright principles, “a website of a creative nature is considered an intellectual work of a multimedia nature”. In this sense, the website includes the following elements:

  • Design. The call look and feelthat is, the aesthetic appearance of the web determined by the graphic characteristics, contours, colors and layout of the text.
  • graphic structure. This is created as long as the software on which it is based is the original created by the author.
  • Domain name. It must be unique, that is, two sites cannot be associated under the same domain name
  • Coexistence in it of several intellectual works (text, images, video)

What are the illicit activities that infringe intellectual property?

  • Deep linking. It consists of inserting a link into a web page (hyperlink) that takes the user to a different page. This operation can lead to a serious risk of confusion between the two sites, which is why it is considered illegal.
  • framing. It consists of inserting features and content from another site into the structure of the website’s graphical interface. This is a case of hoarding or illegal appropriation of the merits of other people’s products.
  • Cybersquatting. The use of domain names corresponding to other brands or products for resale.
  • The “typosquatting«. It consists of buying domains that look like links or URL’s but they actually contain a typographical error. This tricks users into performing a new search.
  • Domain grabbing. It is about registering a domain name with a distinctive sign or word to the company itself.

The last three cases are related to the so-called “time precedence principle issue” which is based on assigning a domain name to the first requested party. For this reason, the Industrial Property Code recognizes the domain name as a distinctive sign of the company in the same way as the brand, the name of the company or the sign and grants it the same protection.

2. Trademark registration in the e-business

The registration of an e-trademarkbusiness guarantees its exclusive use, so that competitors cannot illegally exploit or take advantage of it.

What is the procedure?

In the first place, an exhaustive analysis must be carried out to verify that the trademark meets the corresponding requirements: it must be new, distinctive, legal and truthful.

When creating a brand, it is necessary to indicate the class of products to which it will be associated, according to the Nice Classification. The latter provides for 45 classes, divided into 34 types of products and 11 different services.

In addition, the brand must have territorial protection to be able to register in Spain or allow international expansion. Finally, it must be taken into account that the protection of the intellectual property of trademarks is not infinite. In order not to lose the rights, it must be renewed every ten years. The renewal procedure can be carried out in the 12 months prior to the expiration date and, at most, in the 6 months after.

3. Intellectual property protection tools in electronic commerce

When it comes to e-protectionbusiness, almost always focuses on consumers. However, the importance of the risks related to product counterfeiting and infringement of intellectual property rights against the entrepreneurs themselves is often overlooked.

“In an increasingly digital shopping landscape, it is essential to focus on intellectual property to protect one’s work and related economic interests. An e-sitebusiness it must be carefully structured from the legal point of view and legally protected. Only in this way can it become an effective tool to attract customers and create the digital identity of a company”, says Noelia Lázaro, director of marketing for Packlink.

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