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Industrial property industry
Domain names industry
Trademarks can be among a company’s most important asset, since they represent the value the company has generated, often over the course of many years. When properly used and protected, a trademark lasts forever. However, when misused or abandoned, a trademark loses its practical value and legal protection, and this can be something very dangerous for its owners, in terms of value.

Trademarks can also drive companies into controversy with third parties due to misuse or infringement. In these cases, companies risk a lot, since a brand's value can be higher than the company’s tangible assets.

The introduction of domain names in the industrial property (IP) world is something relatively new. Due to the acceptance and importance Internet gained worldwide, companies started to become interested in the Internet and the way it could be related to their business. This includes their visibility on the web, whose most important aspect is the domain names.

Every trademark will sooner or later become a digital brand (or ebrand) due to the need for companies to have Internet presence.

Digital brands

Digital brands represent companies and products on the Internet, and that is why they are so important. Domain names are the way of creating or translating these 'physical' brands into digital ones.

Companies rapidly found a new enemy, which threatened their presence on the Internet and directly affected their image: brand misuse. This problem grew fast, as Internet became popular in so many countries, and non-uniform legislation was set up worldwide to deal with digital brand infringement issues. Although there are some regulations in many countries, various aspects are not properly regulated and rules vary from country to country, creating the perfect conditions for offenders to act freely.

Cyber squatting

Brand abuse on the Internet takes many forms including offensive associations, trademark infringements, unauthorized linking relationships and copycat sites. Company's trademarks are commonly registered as domain names by different people in many countries, misusing them in order to threaten the company’s image and aiming to make money out of it. This practice is known as 'cyber squatting', and it represents the most common corporate threat when it comes to digital brands.

Another problem corporations have to face is that domain names are unique and the existence of more than one company and brand, sharing the same name, but belonging to different industries and countries of origin usually brings controversy. This has also generated disputes and problems for companies.

Focus on digital brand protection and monitoring

The entire situation mentioned above has motivated companies to start paying attention to their digital brands and to include them as an asset in their IP portfolio to avoid possible disputes which cost them time, money and loss of clients. The issues of changing industry dynamics, the risk of missed renewals and the constant threat of brand infringement, have resulted in transforming domain names into a huge problem and, therefore, something to start taking into account.

Although companies started to take this matter seriously, the lack of legislation is a problem that exists and will persist for many years, affecting mainly companies and their trademarks. (or ebrand) due to the need for companies to have Internet presence.

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