4 Strategies to Stop a Brand Copycat
Copycats are the worst
They're a major drain on profits, time, and energy. Luckily, there's a few easy ways to stop copycats asap:
1. If you don't have a trademark yet, get one!
When you see similar brands popup, it's time to think about a trademark.
This is the best way to protect your brand. It ensures that you're the only one who can use your brand within your product category.
Without a trademark, there's not much you can do to stop competitors from using your brand.
The good news is that you may be able to trademark it now and shut down your competitors.
2. If you have a trademark, send a cease + desist letter
If you already have a trademark, you have a responsibility to stop copycats immediately or your trademark rights can be taken away.
You'll likely need to send a cease + desist letter or email telling the copycat to stop using your brand or face legal action. Always review this letter with an attorney before sending to make sure it's appropriate and correct, as you could face legal action for incorrect letters.
3. If they don't respond to your cease + desist, send a DMCA takedown notice
A takedown notice is serious and you should always consult an attorney before sending one.
It's a notice of intellectual property infringement that is sent to the copycat's website provider (like etsy, instagram, or squarespace) and results in the shutdown of their site.
You need to be very careful in making sure that the person is actual infringing on your intellectual property rights and that the takedown notice is worded correctly. Otherwise, you can face legal action for the improper shudwon of their website.
Always review this letter with an attorney before sending.
4. Keep it off social media
I get it. You want to let the world know that you are the original brand and they are the duplicate. But there's a few big reasons why that could backfire:
First, if you don't own the legal rights to use your brand via a trademark, then anyone is free to use it. There's nothing you can do to stop them. And attempting to enforce your "unofficial" trademark rights by blasting people online can constitute cyberbullying.
Second, you can open yourself up to a lawsuit by posting about it. If you tell 50k followers that someone stole your brand and it turns out that they've never even heard of your company...you've just defamed another company to 50,000 people. And that company probably has the screenshot to prove it. That's a big lawsuit.
So keep it classy and stick to the remedies above.