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March 14th, 2011, 12:09 PM #1Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights
We are the registrant of one of our domains since 2004. Recently we began work on a complete revamp of our website on that domain. On Saturday we pushed the revamped website live. On Sunday (yesterday), we went to the various search engines to review what pages had been indexed before the revamping and just for giggles to see if any new pages where indexed.
We were pleased to see that the Google had already started indexing and showing new pages in their SERPs. We were, however, distraught after discovering that our brand name was being used heavily by other websites and business - on their websites' page content, titles, meta tags, and URLs. Also discovered that many were using our brand / domain name in the text of their PPC ads.
The websites that are infringing on our Intellectual Property Rights are ALL registered in countries out of Asia. Knowing full well that Cease and Desist letters to them would be ignored we have begun cataloging all offending websites, their registrars, and their hosting companies. Correspondence will be going out this week.
As for the websites using our brand / domain name in their PPC ad text, we have already started sending notifications to the Google, Yahoo!, and Bing.
Has anyone else discovered their brand / domain name being used by others and what have you done to enforce your Intellectual Property Rights, and what successes / failures did you have?
Thank you for your input.Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...
March 14th, 2011, 01:05 PM #2
It sounds like we are dealing with two types of issues here. Copyright (content, graphics, images,etc.) and Trademark (brand name, brand logos, etc.).
First, is your brand trademarked?
Also, if so, is it trademarked for the phrase, logo, website, business, etc. For example, if your brand is a common household word, sometimes it is difficult to trademark but you can trademark your logo that appears on your websites, etc. If you have your brandname legally trademarked, then you have all legal rights to go after them. If not, I would make sure I start the process immediately to have your name trademarked. It takes forever, but at least you will have the process started.
Regarding content, which is more the Intellectual Property and copyright issue, you can send them a C&D letter, with signature confirmation, from yourself or a lawyer. I would also contact the hosting companies and tell them about it.
I had this happen to me a few years back but the offending company was small and in the U.S. I hired a lawyer local to the offender so it hits closer to home knowing that the lawyer's office was real and close by. They send a C&D letter and with copies of webpages as proof. I also notified Google and it seemed that helped. Their rankings tanked. Luckily the owner of the site quickly took down all the copied content and a few years later went out of business.
In your case, it is a bit tricky since they are in China. I would try the Google route first as you have done. You have to send them the complaint by snail mail for it to be official.
March 14th, 2011, 07:23 PM #3
So far we have been succesful in getting two websites' PPC ads removed from the Google. We don't know if the website themselves complied with our C&D email, or if the Google flipped a switch on them. We still have one more website running PPC ads on the Google.
We have cataloged all the websites that are using our intellectual property on their websites and who are misleading vistors/consumers into thinking they are going to our site when a link is clicked. We have already contacted their registrars and hosting companies.
We have also started the same procedure as above with the websites that are running PPC ads on Yahoo!/Bing.
We are preparing our requests to the search engines for removal of the websites that have been indexed and that are using our intellectual property. Some require snail mail/fax, others will accept email.
Looking at the code on these websites it appears to be a template website being sold by someone in Romania...Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...
March 17th, 2011, 12:25 AM #4
Correspondence to their hosting providers has been deemed a success. So far two websites have been suspended and are no longer online.
Correspondence to the search engines and website owners running PPC ads using our brand has been deemed a success. So far there are only 2 ads left - one new website on the Google (appears to be an affiliate, too) and one on Yahoo!/Bing.Salty kisses, Sandy toes, and a Pirate's heart...
March 17th, 2011, 02:01 AM #5
March 17th, 2011, 02:43 AM #6
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