One of the best things about having an online business is that there’s a low barrier of entry. As long as you have a desirable product and you’re able to get your word out to interested customers, you are well on your way to building a successful online store. The problem starts when you become a bit too successful. You find the best ecommerce platform, and use it to achieve your goals. That same low barrier of entry that allowed you to begin your successful business and reach your customer base also allows your competitors to steal your hard work. They can copy your business model, copy your products, and become a direct competitor. This can cause a significant loss of revenue and customer base. As a result, it can adversely affect your business. Continue reading to learn why e-commerce businesses need intellectual property rights protection.
Can I Protect My Intellectual Property Rights On The Internet?
Your first reaction to finding out that someone is copying your business model and profiting from your hard work would understandably be anger. You would want to find a way to stop it. It is technically possible to do so, especially if you have applied for and received intellectual property (IP) rights to your products. You can hire a legal team to sue the person for infringing on your IP rights.
However, this is where you need to stop and really think about the opportunity cost of going after an IP thief. Trying to prosecute IP thieves can be a long and costly process. To top it off, there is no guarantee that the case will rule in your favor. Unless you own a billion-dollar company, it’s probably not worth the time or hassle to do so.
So There’s No Way To Protect Myself From IP Infringement Online?
There are still instances where it is worth the trouble of protecting your IP rights online. The most probable case where you can prosecute IP thieves and win a ruling that’s significantly beneficial to you is when your IP rights are being infringed by businesses or people who are directly affecting your revenue. These people will generally be located in the same geographical area as you, thus targeting the same customer base. You can use your top-notch ecommerce solutions to target your ideal customers and they can take them from you anyway. If this is the case, you will be well within your rights to sue them for IP infringement to protect your business.
If you are unsure whether you should sue people who are infringing on your IP rights, the first step that you should take is to calculate the losses that you are incurring due to their criminal activities. From there, you can gauge whether it’s worth the legal costs to try and prosecute these people.
There are generally four areas of your business that you should consider protecting with intellectual property rights. Continue reading to discover these areas.
Protecting Your Brand
The most important component of your online business that you have to protect is your brand. This is the “face” of your company, and even if you have the most desirable product in the world, if you can’t inspire customer loyalty by protecting your brand, you won’t see any profits. You will generally protect your brand by applying for a trademark. This will also protect your logo, slogan, and other aspects of your business that will fall under the legal protections of a trademark application.
Protecting Your Product
Applying for a product patent is essential if it is a product that you created and is unique to the market. This prevents other people from making copies or knockoffs of your product and selling them for a profit, especially if they are not paying you any royalties.
Protecting Your Business Relationships
As an online business owner, you are probably working with other businesses to help propel your business forward. After all, they can offer helpful eCommerce development tips for your site. You can use IP protections to help prevent these third-party vendors from using your products for their own gain. This will also help prevent conflicts of interest if these third-party vendors are approached by your competitors.
Protecting Your Website
If someone does infringe on your IP rights on your website (for example, someone stealing your copy or product images and using them on their own website) and you want to sue them for damages, you can use e-commerce insurance to help with the costs. This type of insurance will pay for the legal fees so that you don’t need to take it out of your own pocket.