How to deal with the plagiarism of an online business?
The most common form of plagiarism in business today is plagiarism that occurs on the Internet, via social networks – Instagram or Facebook – or on a separate site.
With social networks, attackers often copy the name of a page on Instagram or Facebook, adding a few letters or a space to trick the app into thinking the handle is unique. However, in reality, these trademarks (page or channel names) remain the same.
If you encounter such a violation, you must quickly run and register a trademark. If you are in Ukraine, it is advisable to register according to the expedited procedure. Without a registered trademark, no one will forbid others from using your Instagram or Facebook handle. But in order to prohibit someone from using your trademark as the name of their channel, one application is not enough. You must have a Certificate of Registration of Trademark on hand to prove that you own the rights to that name.
Once you have received a Certificate (trademark registration number), you can contact Instagram or Facebook and they will immediately block offenses that do not have a Certificate, subsequently closing the channel. At this point, the conflict will end, and you can continue to freely use your brand.
What if you find a website that resembles your site? Well, if it somehow imitates or repeats the name of your website, you need to register a trademark as soon as possible. Once you receive the Trademark Registration Certificate, you need to contact either the registrar of the domain on which the offender’s website is registered, or contact the court directly. It is often better to choose the second option, because in most cases, domain registrars will not do anything without a court order. They can block offenders’ websites for some time or restrict access to them. But depending on personal practice, they will sometimes unblock the duplicate website for the treatment of offenders. So, it is usually better to have the Certificate in your hands and go straight to court. Based on the court decision, access to the site and domain will be blocked, after which you can continue to work without worrying about this issue.
There may be a situation in which an offender’s site completely duplicates the content of your site (design, buttons, materials, photos). In this case, you need to register copyright on the site and on the content of this site. This could take a month or two. But with a Certificate of Registration of Copyright in hand, you must apply to the court and the court will prohibit other people from using the same materials that are on your site.
Ultimately, all comes down to a court decision, which is easy enough to get if you have all the documents listed above: Certificate of Trademark Registration and Certificate of Registration of Copyright.
But, to be honest, it’s better to avoid being copied from the get-go. I strongly advise you to register your brand at the very start of your business path, thereby avoiding all these legal proceedings and other troubles. Write to me right now, and I will be happy to tell you how to do this with the minimum amount of effort and money.