Your brand – and the intellectual property connected to that brand – is the most valuable asset your business owns. It’s your company’s DNA, the thing that sets your brand apart from others on the market. So it makes sense that you want to do all in your power to protect it.
Copyright and brand protection help prevent frauds and counterfeiters from stealing your intellectual property and acting like it’s theirs. But brand protection isn’t always that easy.
Monitoring the vastness of the web to detect potential infringements can be an intricate process, which you can easily do on your own. Instead, you probably need the help of cybersecurity companies. And they need the help of web scraping robots.
In this short article, we’ll explain a bit more about potential brand infringements and how you can protect your business to avoid this from happening by scraping the web. Let’s find out.
What is brand protection?
First, let’s quickly explain what we mean by brand and copyright protection. You see, every company has certain assets that are unique to them. Whether it’s a stylish logo or a registered brand name, such assets fall under a company’s intellectual property.
Brand or copyright protection is the process of protecting your intellectual property from counterfeiters, imposters, and infringers. This ensures that what belongs to you doesn’t fall into the hands of potential criminals.
Examples of brand infringement
Brand infringement, sometimes also called brand abuse, can come in many different types and forms. However, what all these infringements have in common is that it means someone is trying to (unlawfully) take advantage of your company’s intellectual property.
Examples of brand infringement include, but are not limited to:
- Copyright infringement and piracy
- Counterfeit and replica items sold under your brand name (trademark-infringing)
- Trade dress infringement
- Impersonation of your brand (e.g. through a fake social media account)
- Creation of duplicate or rogue websites for malicious intent (like spreading viruses or tricking people into scams)
So whether it’s someone trying to sell a replica under your brand’s name, or someone using your brand’s design to market their product, these are all examples of infringements of your brand’s intellectual property.
Protecting your brand
You can see why it’s important to protect your brand. If you don’t, someone might abuse your company’s good reputation and use it to trick or scam your potential customers. This in turn can damage your brand’s reputation. So how to protect your brand?
Before you start, it is helpful to create an intellectual property (IP) portfolio. Start by creating a portfolio of all your assets and ensure that all the necessary legal safeguards are in place.
Think of trademark or copyright registration for your assets so you have a legal right to protect yourself against abuse. This also ensures you don’t accidentally accuse someone of brand infringement without a valid reason.
Once this is in place, it is time to actually try and find those copyright and brand infringements. To achieve this, you can either try and monitor your intellectual property across the web yourself, or find a cybersecurity company to do it for you (the easier solution).
Either way, this is where web scraping comes into the picture.
Brand protection through web scraping
The fact that web scraping helps protect against brand and copyright infringement might seem a bit contradictory, if not ironic, at first, as web scraping is often dubbed illegal as it supposedly infringes a website’s copyright. But that’s because web scraping techniques can be used by both parties.
You see, the people infringing your rights by duplicating your intellectual property often do so by scraping your website to steal the information. But two can play that game.
You can use the same web scraping techniques against them by having a bot crawl the web for you to identify any unlawful use of your intellectual property. This bot can scrape specific websites for you (e.g. eBay or Google Shopping to spot potential counterfeit sellers) or crawl through search engines.
The scraped data is then compared to large databases or trained AI to detect any possible matches with your intellectual property. Through special text and image recognition software, like optical character recognition (OCR) or logo detection, possible misuses of your products and images can then be identified.
As such, a web scraper can help you detect any infringement of your copyrights. Of course, this is not a one-time solution. To properly protect your brand you need to continuously monitor the web for any potential new violations and misuses.
Areas of the web particularly important to monitor are:
- Social media platforms
- Paid social advertising
- Paid search advertising
- App stores
- Specific websites
By continuously monitoring your brand’s presence on the web you can be confident that nobody can steal your intellectual property and get away with it.