Exactly What to Do When Someone Copies Your Brand

Exactly What to Do When Someone Copies Your Brand
 

Copycats are the worst.

It’s a name, logo, tagline, or aesthetic that’s a little too inspired by your brand.

It’s so frustrating and annoying to deal with copycats.

But there’s actually a pretty easy way to handle them…

1. Learn About Them

The first thing to do is learn all about them.

Visit their website and social media pages.

You’ll want to find out:

  1. What they sell

  2. Where they sell

  3. When they first used the brand

  4. Whether they have a trademark

Write all of this down. You may also want to take screenshots.

2. Are They Too Similar?

Next, you’ll want to review whether the new brand is too similar.

They’re probably too similar if they meet these three conditions…

They Sound or Look Similar, and

You’ll want to be broad about what sounds and looks similar.

For example, if the brands share a keyword, they may be too similar.

Words like "The” “And” or “Co.” won’t make a difference. You can ignore these words and think about whether the brand name is still similar without them.

They Sell in the US, and

You only need to worry about brands that are selling in the US.

They Sell Similar Products + Services

You’ll want to be broad about what is a similar product or service as well.

For example, shirts and bags could be too similar because many stores sell both.

3. Know Your Rights

If you have a trademark, the new brand is similar to your mark, and they started their business after you, then you can stop them.

You own the right to the brand.

Keep reading to see what to do next.

If you don’t have a trademark, you can’t stop them yet. You don’t own the brand.

You'll want to show your results to an attorney and figure out the best thing to do. You may still be able to trademark the brand and stop these copycats.

Read More: How to Trademark Your Brand in 3 Steps

4. Send an Email

If you have a trademark, the brand is similar to your mark, and they started their business after you did, then you’ll want to send them an initial email.

It states your trademark, how their brand is similar, and allows time to rebrand.

It’s a good strategy to start friendly.

You’ll want to send with a read receipt so you know when it’s opened.

You should also save a copy of the email.

If you don’t have a trademark, you shouldn’t send this initial email.

You don’t own the brand and this could hurt your chance to trademark the brand.

Work with an attorney to figure out the best thing to do.

5. Send a Cease + Desist

If they haven’t responded to your initial email or they aren’t willing to rebrand, you’ll send them an official cease + desist.

It enforces your trademark rights and demands they rebrand immediately. Otherwise, they’ll face a lawsuit and be forced to pay damages.

We have a template available for you to send yourself or we can send it for you. We typically recommend sending it yourself at first and then we can followup with them afterward. It seems that copycats are more likely to cooperate when there’s an attorney involved.

You’ll want to send with a read receipt so you know when it’s opened.

You should also save a copy of the email.

If you don’t have a trademark, you may want to wait. You don’t want to give them a heads up so they can file the trademark first.

Read More: Trademark Cease + Desist Template

6. Keep it Off Social Media

You definitely don’t want to post about it on social media.

It looks tacky and it can get you into legal trouble.

We’ve seen defamation lawsuits that started when one company posted an instagram story about another company stealing their brand.

Keep it classy and handle it behind the scenes.

 

 

Free Download

How-to-Trademark-Your-Brand

How to Trademark Your Brand in 3 Steps

In this guide, you’ll learn…

How to create a brand you can protect

How to tell if your brand is available

How to file a trademark application

How the trademark process works

Nicole SwartzTrademark